The carotid body is a small nodule- no larger than a rice grain- found on the side of each carotid artery and it appears to be a major culprit in the development and regulation of high blood pressure.
Researchers of University of Bristol found that by removing the carotid body connection to the brain in rodents with high blood pressure, blood pressure fell and remained low.
Normally, the carotid body acts to regulate the amount of oxygen and carbon-dioxide in the blood. They are stimulated when oxygen levels fall in your blood as occurs when you hold your breath. This causes a dramatic increase in breathing and blood pressure until blood oxygen levels are restored. This response comes about through a nervous connection between the carotid body and the brain.
The researchers, who conducted the study of rats, said that despite its small size the carotid body has the highest blood flow of any organ in the body. Its influence on blood pressure likely reflects the priority of protecting the brain with enough blood flow.
The study was published in journal Nature Communications.
--ANI (Posted on 04-09-2013)