Cooperative Oxygen Sensing by the Kidney and Carotid Body in Blood Pressure Control

Daniela Patinha, Wioletta Pijacka, Julian Paton, Maarten Koeners

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
312 Downloads (Pure)


Oxygen sensing mechanisms are vital for homeostasis and survival. When oxygen levels are too low (hypoxia), blood flow has to be increased, metabolism reduced, or a combination of both, to counteract tissue damage. These adjustments are regulated by local, humoral or neural reflex mechanisms. The kidney and the carotid body are both directly sensitive to falls in the partial pressure of oxygen and trigger reflex adjustments and thus act as oxygen sensors. We hypothesize a cooperative oxygen sensing function by both the kidney and carotid body to ensure maintenance of whole body blood flow and tissue oxygen homeostasis. Under pathological conditions of severe or prolonged tissue hypoxia, these sensors may become excessively activated continuously and increase perfusion pressure chronically. Consequently, persistence of their activity could become a driver for the development of hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Hypoxia-mediated renal and carotid body afferent signaling triggers unrestrained activation of the renin angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS). Renal and carotid body mediated responses in arterial pressure appear to be synergistic as interruption of either afferent source has a summative effect of reducing blood pressure in renovascular hypertension. We discuss that this cooperative oxygen sensing system can activate/sensitize their own afferent transduction mechanisms via interactions between the RAAS, hypoxia inducible factor and erythropoiesis pathways. This joint mechanism supports our view point that the development of cardiovascular disease involves afferent nerve activation
Original languageEnglish
Article number752
Number of pages13
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Publication statusPublished - 4 Oct 2017

Bibliographical note



  • Hypoxia
  • Carotid Body
  • hypertension
  • angiotensin II
  • Kidney


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