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1. Somatostatin depresses the ventilatory response to hypoxia (AHVR). This study sought to determine whether somatostatin also reduced the peripheral chemoreflex sensitivity to hypercapnia, and if so, whether this was related to the reduction in AHVR. 2. Nine subjects completed the study. AHVR and the ventilatory responses to hypercapnia under both hyperoxic and hypoxic conditions were assessed both without and with an infusion of somatostatin (0.5 BsBs5mgBs5 h-1). Peripheral (fast) and central (slow) responses to hypercapnia were distingushed by use of a multi-frequency binary sequence input in end-tidal PCO2 (PET,CO2) that included 13 steps into and out of hypercapnia. 3. The acute ventilatory response to a reduction in end-tidal PO2 (PET,O2) from 100 to 50 Torr (at a PET, CO2 of +1.5-2.0 Torr above normal) was reduced from (mean +/- s.e.m. ) 16.4 +/- 3.3 to 9.5 +/- 3.2 l min-1 (P < 0.005, Student's t test) by somatostatin. The magnitude of the ensuing hypoxic ventilatory decline was unaltered (8.8 +/- 2.7 l min-1 in control vs. 8.0 +/- 2. 9 l min-1 with somatostatin). 4. The peripheral chemoreflex sensitivity to CO2 in hypoxia was reduced from 2.42 +/- 0.36 to 1.18 +/- 0.20 l min-1 Torr-1 (P < 0.005) with somatostatin. The reduction under hyperoxic conditions from 0.75 +/- 0.34 to 0.49 +/- 0.09 l min-1 Torr-1 did not reach significance. Central chemoreflex sensitivity to CO2 was unchanged. Changes in peripheral chemoreflex sensitivity to CO2 in hypoxia correlated with changes in AHVR. 5. We conclude that peripheral chemoreflex sensitivity to CO2 is reduced by somatostatin, probably via the same mechanism as that by which somatostatin exerts its effects on AHVR.


Journal article


J Physiol

Publication Date



521 Pt 1


289 - 297


Adult, Carbon Dioxide, Chemoreceptor Cells, Female, Humans, Hypercapnia, Hypoxia, Male, Respiration, Respiratory Physiological Phenomena, Somatostatin