Chemoreceptors

The levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood and cerebrospinal fluid are monitored by chemoreceptors, specialized internal sensors of the autonomic nervous system. Sensory nerve endings associated with these receptors then transmit nerve impulses coded for distorted levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide directly to the circuits of the somatic nervous system that regulate breathing (fig. 2.1s). Accordingly, the chemoreceptors are important keys to linking the autonomic and somatic systems.

There are two classes of chemoreceptors: peripheral and central. The peripheral chemoreceptors, which are located in the large arteries leading away from the heart, react quickly to substantial reductions of arteria oxygen and strongly stimulate respiration. If you restrict your breathing, or 1

autonomic nervous external carotid artery and main branches (supplies face and scalp) internal carotid artery (travels deep here to supply brain)

cerebellum system input peripheral chemoreceptors to pontine respiratory center

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