Effects of unilateral hypoxia on neuroepithelial bodies in rabbit lungs

J Appl Physiol Respir Environ Exerc Physiol. 1983 Dec;55(6):1665-8. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1983.55.6.1665.


The present study was undertaken to investigate the influence of regional (unilateral) alveolar hypoxia on the intrapulmonary neuroepithelial bodies (NEB), which contain bioactive substances and are distinctly innervated. Eight (4-wk-old) rabbits were subjected to unilateral hypoxia. The animals were anesthetized by an intramuscular injection of Hypnorm and breathed spontaneously during the experiment. The right lung received a hypoxic gas mixture (10% O2-90% N2) and the left lung a hyperoxic mixture. Blood gas measurements indicated that no systemic hypoxemia or acidosis occurred under these conditions. Lung samples were examined by electron microscopy to determine morphometrically the extent of a secretory exocytosis at the basal cell pole of the NEB and by a microspectrographical analysis of the formaldehyde-induced fluorescence to quantify the NEB serotonin content. After 20 min of unilateral hypoxia the NEB in the right hypoxic lung exhibited an increased exocytosis and a lower serotonin content in comparison with the left hyperoxic lung NEB. These results indicate that NEB react to regional alveolar hypoxia by secreting serotonin and/or peptides to the surrounding lung tissue (blood vessels, smooth muscle, nerve endings, etc.).

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Epithelium / metabolism
  • Epithelium / ultrastructure
  • Exocytosis
  • Hypoxia / physiopathology*
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Lung / ultrastructure
  • Nervous System / metabolism*
  • Nervous System / ultrastructure
  • Rabbits
  • Serotonin / analysis


  • Serotonin