The carotid bodies (CBs) are multi-modal sensory organs located bilaterally at the bifurcation of the carotid artery and innervated by the carotid sinus nerve (Hering's nerve), a branch of the IX cranial nerve. While the CBs (or embryologically analogous structures) are well known as the dominant oxygen-sensing organ in vertebrates (Hempleman & Warburton, 2013), in mammals there is evidence that the CBs may also sense glucose, temperature and respond to other circulating hormones and factors. Additionally, the CBs likely participate in regulating baseline levels of sympathetic tone. In this brief review, we focus on the evolution of our efforts to understand "what else" beyond oxygen sensing the CBs do in humans.
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