1. Developmental Biology
Download icon

Evolutionary Developmental Biology: Sensing oxygen inside and out

  1. Maria R Stupnikov
  2. Wellington V Cardoso  Is a corresponding author
  1. Columbia University Medical Center, United States
Cite this article as: eLife 2017;6:e27467 doi: 10.7554/eLife.27467
1 figure


A new model for the evolution of oxygen sensors.

Oxygen-sensitive neuroendocrine (NE) cells (yellow) associated with blood vessels (red) serve as sensors for internal oxygen levels (top). These include catecholaminergic cells in an ancestral structure in non-amniotes like fish (left), and the glomus cells in the carotid body of amniotes like humans (right). Other neuroendocrine cells act as sensors for external oxygen (bottom). These include cells in the gills of fish (left) and the airways of amniotes (right). Hockman et al. propose that the clusters of catecholaminergic cells near the blood vessels in non-amniotes evolved into the carotid bodies of amniotes. The neuroendocrine cells in these internal sensors are all derived from the neural crest. By contrast, the external oxygen sensors in gills and airways are derived from the endoderm in both non-amniotes and amniotes. Neurons are shown in blue; accessory cells are shown in gray. NEB: neuroendocrine body.

Download links

A two-part list of links to download the article, or parts of the article, in various formats.

Downloads (link to download the article as PDF)

Download citations (links to download the citations from this article in formats compatible with various reference manager tools)

Open citations (links to open the citations from this article in various online reference manager services)