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J Appl Physiol. 1975 Sep;39(3):354-8.

Effect of carotid body resection on ventilatory and acid-base control during exercise.


To investigate the role of the carotid bodies in exercise hyperpnea and acid-base control, normal and carotid body-resected subjects (CBR) were studied during constant-load and incremental exercise. There was no significant difference in the first-breath ventilatory responses to exercise between the groups; some subjects in each reproducibly exhibited abrupt responses. The subsequent change in Ve toward steady state was slower in the CBR group. The steady-state ventilatory responses were the same in both groups at work rates below the anaerobic threshold (AT). However, above the AT, the hyperpnea was less marked in the CBR group. Ve and acid-base measurements revealed that the CBR group failed to hyperventilate in response to the metabolic acidosis of either constant-load or incremental exercise. We conclude that the carotid bodies 1) are not responsible for the initial exercise hyperpnea, 2) do affect the time course of Ve to its steady state, and 3) are responsible for the respiratory compensation for the metabolic acidosis of exercise.

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