ABSTRACT: Respiratory motoneuron response to hypoxia is reflex in nature and carotid body sensory receptor constitutes the afferent limb of this reflex. Recent studies showed that repetitive exposures to hypoxia evokes long term facilitation of sensory nerve discharge (sLTF) of the carotid body in rodents exposed to chronic intermittent hypoxia (CIH). Although studies with anti-oxidants suggested the involvement of reactive oxygen species (ROS)-mediated signaling in eliciting sLTF, the source of and the mechanisms associated with ROS generation have not yet been investigated. We tested the hypothesis that ROS generated by NADPH oxidase (NOX) mediate CIH-evoked sLTF. Experiments were performed on ex vivo carotid bodies from rats and mice exposed either to 10 d of CIH or normoxia. Acute repetitive hypoxia evoked a approximately 12-fold increase in NOX activity in CIH but not in control carotid bodies, and this effect was associated with upregulation of NOX2 mRNA and protein, which was primarily localized to glomus cells of the carotid body. sLTF was prevented by NOX inhibitors and was absent in mice deficient in NOX2. NOX activation by CIH required 5-HT release and activation of 5-HT(2) receptors coupled to PKC signaling. Studies with ROS scavengers revealed that H(2)O(2) generated from O(2).(-) contributes to sLTF. Priming with H(2)O(2) elicited sLTF of carotid bodies from normoxic control rats and mice, similar to that seen in CIH-treated animals. These observations reveal a novel role for NOX-induced ROS signaling in mediating sensory plasticity of the carotid body.
Journal of Neuroscience 05/2009; 29(15):4903-10. · 7.11 Impact Factor