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.).
- Copyright © 1983 the American Physiological Society