The carotid body is located within the neck, and in close approximation to the carotid bifurcation. It is composed of a number of chemoreceptor cells and supporting matrix and detects changes in the composition of blood in the common carotid as it forms the internal and external carotid arteries.
It predomintly detects the partial pressue of oxygen, but is also sensitive to the partial pressure of CO2 and pH and temperature. The feedback from the carotid body is sent to the cardiorespiratory centers in the medulla oblongata via the afferent branches of the glossopharyngeal nerve. The cell bodies of this nerve are located in the petrosal ganglion. The afferent fibres of the aortic body chemoreceptors are relayed by the vagus nerve. These centers, in turn, regulate breathing and blood pressure.
- Gray's Anatomy 39th Edition, Elsevier
- Thieme Atlas of Anatomy (Head and Neuroanatomy): ISBN 3131421215