How the carotid body works: Different strategies and preparations to solve different problems
This is a review of the different experimental approaches developed to solve the problems in our progress towards a comprehensive understanding of how arterial chemoreceptors operate. An analysis is performed of the bases, advantages and limits of the following preparations: studies of ventilatory reflexes originated from carotid bodies (CBs) in the entire animal; recordings of CB chemosensory discharges in situ; CB preparations perfused in situ; CB explants in oculo; CB explants in ovo; CB preparations incubated in vitro; CB preparations superfused in vitro; CB preparations perfused and superfused in vitro; CB tissue slices in vitro; cells acutely dissociated from CBs; CB cells in tissue culture; petrosal ganglia superfused in vitro; petrosal ganglion cells in tissue culture; and co-cultures of CB and sensory ganglion cells. A brief historical account is given of the passage from one preparation to the next one. Emphasis is placed on personal experience with the different preparations whenever possible. Examples are given of the importance of selecting the appropriate experimental preparation for solving each particular theoretical problem. In fact, brilliant ideas on how the CB works have been unproductive until finding the adequate experimental approach to explore the validity of such ideas.