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Intra-arterial recordings of potassium concentration ([K+]a) and arterial chemoreceptor discharge were made in six anaesthetized cats while tracheal PO2 was stepped every 2 min (end-tidal PO2 ca. 140, 60, 40 and 95 Torr) at constant PCO2 (33 Torr). [K+]a increased hyperbolically from 3.0 mM to 4.5 mM as arterial PO2 was lowered from 95 to 40 Torr. Because the discharge of arterial chemoreceptors is excited by hyperkalaemia as well as hypoxia, the hypoxic discharge of arterial chemoreceptors may have a component mediated by [K+]a. The mechanisms underlying the arterial K+ increase in hypoxia remain unknown.

Original publication




Journal article


Q J Exp Physiol

Publication Date





623 - 625


Action Potentials, Animals, Arteries, Cats, Chemoreceptor Cells, Hypoxia, Potassium