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Arousal from sleep in response to CO2 is a life-preserving reflex that enhances ventilatory drive and facilitates behavioural adaptations to restore eupnoeic breathing. Recurrent activation of the CO2 -arousal reflex is associated with sleep disruption in obstructive sleep apnoea. In this review we examine the role of chemoreceptors in the carotid bodies, the retrotrapezoid nucleus and serotonergic neurons in the dorsal raphe in the CO2 -arousal reflex. We also provide an overview of the supra-medullary structures that mediate CO2 -induced arousal. We propose a framework for the CO2 -arousal reflex in which the activity of the chemoreceptors converges in the parabrachial nucleus to trigger cortical arousal. © 2021 The Authors. The Journal of Physiology © 2021 The Physiological Society.


Stephen B G Abbott, George M P R Souza. Chemoreceptor mechanisms regulating CO2 -induced arousal from sleep. The Journal of physiology. 2021 May;599(10):2559-2571

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PMID: 33759184

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