The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of peripheral chemoreceptor activity on the hypoxic and hypercapnic ventilatory drives in rabbits with induced hypothyroidism. Experiments were carried out in control and hypothyroid rabbits. Hypothyroidism was induced by an administration of an iodide-blocker, methimazole in food (75 mg/100 g food) for ten weeks. At the end of the tenth week, triiodothyronine (T-3) and thyroxine (T-4) levels significantly decreased (<0.001) while thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) increased (P<0.001). Tidal volume (V-T), respiratory frequency (f/min), ventilation minute volume (V-E) and systemic arterial blood pressure (BP) were recorded during the breathing of the normoxic, hypoxic (8% O-2 - 92% N-2) and hypercapnic (6% CO2-Air) gas mixtures, in the anaesthetised rabbits of both groups. At the end of each experimental phase, PaO2, PaCO2, and pHa were measured. The same experimental procedure was repeated after peripheral chemoreceptor denervation in both groups. VT significantly decreased in some of the rabbits with hypothyroidism during the breathing of the hypoxic gas mixture (nonresponsive subgroup) (P<0.05). After chemodenervation, a decrease in VT was observed in this nonresponsive subgroup during normoxia (P<0.05). The percent decrease in VT in nonresponsive subgroup of hypothyroid rabbits after chemodenervation was lower than that of the chemodenervated control animals (P<0.01). When these rabbits with hypothyroidism were allowed to breath the hypercapnic gas mixtures, increases in VT and VF were not significant. In conclusion, although there is a decrease in peripheral chemoreceptor activity in hypothyroidism, it does not seem to be the only cause of decrease in ventilatory drive during hypoxia and hypercapnia.