Insights into the evolution of polymodal chemoreceptors
Publication date: October 2018
Source: Acta Histochemica, Volume 120, Issue 7
Author(s): Michael G. Jonz
Respiratory chemoreceptors in vertebrates are specialized cells that detect chemical changes in the environment or arterial blood supply and initiate autonomic responses, such as hyperventilation or changes in heart rate, to improve O2 uptake and delivery to tissues. These chemoreceptors are sensitive to changes in O2, CO2 and/or H+. In fish and mammals, respiratory chemoreceptors may be additionally sensitive to ammonia, hypoglycemia, and numerous other stimuli. Thus, chemoreceptors that affect respiration respond to different types of stimuli (or modalities) and are considered to be "polymodal". This review discusses the polymodal nature of respiratory chemoreceptors in vertebrates with a particular emphasis on chemoreceptors of the carotid body and pulmonary epithelium in mammals, and on neuroepithelial cells in water- and air-breathing fish. A major goal will be to examine the evidence for putative polymodal chemoreceptors in fish within the context of studies on mammalian models, for which polymodal chemoreceptors are well described, in order to improve our understanding of the evolution of polymodal chemoreceptors in vertebrates, and to aid in future studies that aim to identify putative receptors in air- and water-breathing fish.