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Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2010 Oct 31;173(3):312-21. doi: 10.1016/j.resp.2010.03.014. Epub 2010 Mar 20.

Central chemoreception: lessons from mouse and human genetics.

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  • 1Institut de Biologie de l'Ecole normale sup√©rieure (IBENS), Paris, France.


The response to increased P(CO(2)) in the brain is an essential drive to breathe and required for CO(2) and pH homeostasis in the blood, but where and how CO(2) is sensed are still contentious issues. Here, we review evidence from mouse and human genetics that argue for the crucial role in CO(2) chemosensitivity of a limited set of central neurons that express the Phox2b transcription factor and are disabled by Phox2b mutations. A common trait of different Phox2b mutations that impair CO(2) responsiveness in the embryo and respiration in neonates is the depletion of Phox2b-expressing neurons in the retrotrapezoid nucleus, providing genetic evidence for their importance for proper breathing and central chemosensitivity at birth.

Copyright © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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