Julius H. Comroe, Jr., Distinguished Lecture: Central chemoreception: then … and now

Eugene Nattie


The 2010 Julius H. Comroe, Jr., Lecture of the American Physiological Society focuses on evolving ideas in chemoreception for CO2/pH in terms of what is “sensed,” where it is sensed, and how the sensed information is used physiologically. Chemoreception is viewed as involving neurons (and glia) at many sites within the hindbrain, including, but not limited to, the retrotrapezoid nucleus, the medullary raphe, the locus ceruleus, the nucleus tractus solitarius, the lateral hypothalamus (orexin neurons), and the caudal ventrolateral medulla. Central chemoreception also has an important nonadditive interaction with afferent information arising at the carotid body. While ventilation has been viewed as the primary output variable, it appears that airway resistance, arousal, and blood pressure can also be significantly affected. Emphasis is placed on the importance of data derived from studies performed in the absence of anesthesia.

  • carbon dioxide
  • control of breathing
  • pH
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