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Nat Neurosci. 2003 Nov;6(11):1139-40. Epub 2003 Sep 28.

Midbrain serotonergic neurons are central pH chemoreceptors.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, 333 Cedar Street, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06510, USA.


Serotonergic neurons in the medulla are central respiratory chemoreceptors. Here we show that serotonergic neurons in the midbrain of rats are also highly chemosensitive to small changes in CO2/pH and are closely associated with large penetrating arteries. We propose that midbrain raphé neurons are sensors of blood CO2 that maintain pH homeostasis by inducing arousal, anxiety and changes in cerebrovascular tone in response to respiratory acidosis.

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