Journal of Forensic Sciences Volume: 56 Issue: S1 Dated: January 2011 Pages: S90-S94
The carotid bodies tend to enlarge after long-standing cardiopulmonary disease. This study's objective was to investigate whether cardiac hypertrophy is associated with carotid body hyperplasia.
Fifteen autopsy cases with combined left and right ventricular hypertrophy were examined and compared with two control groups (16 cases). The study involved a meticulous dissection of carotid bifurcations, thin serial sections, and morphometric analysis of carotid body volume and cell types (progenitor, dark, light, and sustentacular). There was a significant increase in sustentacular cells in all individuals with cardiac hypertrophy, which was not drug-induced, and accompanied by a similar increase in carotid body volume. Dark or light cell accumulation was detected focally and only in three instances. It appears that the generalized sustentacular cell hyperplasia is the result of long-standing hypoxia, while a superimposed focal prominence of dark or light cells may be proliferative or metaplastic in nature and attributed to short-term hypoxia. (Published Abstract)
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