Meaning of the Type I Cell for the Chemoreceptive Process – An Electrophysiological Study on Cultured Type I Cells of the Carotid Body
The carotid body as a chemoreceptor is able to transduce changes of PO2, PCO2 and pH into nerve impulses. Several elements in the carotid body can be responsible for this process: type I cells, type II cells, small nerve fibers, and mitochondrial bags. We have started to investigate, by intracellular measurements, the electrophysiological characteristics of type I cells and their dependence on changes of PO2 to determine their role in the chemoreceptive mechanism. The measurements were done on cultured type I cells, as described by Pietruschka (2,3). These measurements on cultured cells have the following advantages:1 it is always possible to identify the cell to be punctured; and 2 because the cells are cultured in a monolayer, PO2 gradients can be neglected, and a direct correlation between changes in PO2 and electrophysiological parameters can be established. The disadvantage of this method is that the growing cells are very flat, and it is extremely difficult to puncture them.
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