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Weir 2005 N Engl J Med

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Weir EK, López-Barneo J, Buckler KJ, Archer SL (2005) Acute oxygen-sensing mechanisms. N Engl J Med 353:2042-55.

» PMID:16282179 Open Access

Weir EK, López-Barneo J, Buckler KJ, Archer SL (2005) N Engl J Med

Abstract: JOSEPH PRIESTLEY, ONE OF THE THREE SCIENTISTS CREDITED WITH THE discovery of oxygen, described the death of mice that were deprived of oxygen. However, he was also well aware of the toxicity of too much oxygen, stating, “For as a candle burns much faster in dephlogisticated [oxygen-enriched] than in common air, so we might live out too fast, and the animal powers be too soon exhausted in this pure kind of air. A moralist, at least, may say, that the air which nature has provided for us is as good as we deserve.”1 In this review we examine the remarkable mechanisms by which different organs detect and respond to acute changes in oxygen tension. Specialized tissues that sense the local oxygen tension include glomus cells of the carotid body, neuroepithelial bodies in the lungs, chromaffin cells of the fetal adrenal medulla, and smooth-muscle cells of the resistance pulmonary arteries, fetoplacental arteries, systemic arteries, and the ductus arteriosus. Together, they constitute a specialized homeostatic oxygen-sensing system. Although all tissues are sensitive to severe hypoxia, these specialized tissues respond rapidly to moderate changes in oxygen tension within the physiologic range (roughly 40 to 100 mm Hg in an adult and 20 to 40 mm Hg in a fetus) (Fig. 1).

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