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aortic body (anatomy)

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The aortic bodies are peripheral chemoreceptors sited around the inferior surface of the aortic arch. They are small masses of glomus tissue around 3-4mm in diameter - smaller than the carotid bodies. They have a very high rate of metabolism which is mirrored by a high blood transit rate through them.

There are two types of cell within the aortic bodies:

  • type I cell: main sensory cells for stimulation by hypoxia, acidaemia
  • type II cell: glial supporting cells

The aortic bodies are supplied by fibres of the vagus nerve:

  • efferent: modulate sensitivity to hypoxia by regulating blood flow through the bodies
  • afferent: signal extent of chemical changes within the blood