Document Detail

Pulmonary system limitations to endurance exercise performance in humans.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22125308     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Accumulating evidence over the past 25 years depicts the healthy pulmonary system as a limiting factor of whole-body endurance exercise performance. This brief overview emphasizes three respiratory system-related mechanisms which impair O(2) transport to the locomotor musculature [arterial O(2) content (C(aO(2))) × leg blood flow (Q(L))], i.e. the key determinant of an individual's aerobic capacity and ability to resist fatigue. First, the respiratory system often fails to prevent arterial desaturation substantially below resting values and thus compromises C(aO(2)). Especially susceptible to this threat to convective O(2) transport are well-trained endurance athletes characterized by high metabolic and ventilatory demands and, probably due to anatomical and morphological gender differences, active women. Second, fatiguing respiratory muscle work (W(resp)) associated with strenuous exercise elicits sympathetically mediated vasoconstriction in limb-muscle vasculature, which compromises Q(L). This impact on limb O(2) transport is independent of fitness level and affects all individuals, but only during sustained, high-intensity endurance exercise performed above ∼85% maximal oxygen uptake. Third, excessive fluctuations in intrathoracic pressures accompanying W(resp) can limit cardiac output and therefore Q(L). Exposure to altitude exacerbates the respiratory system limitations observed at sea level, further reducing C(aO(2)) and substantially increasing exercise-induced W(resp). Taken together, the intact pulmonary system of healthy endurance athletes impairs locomotor muscle O(2) transport during strenuous exercise by failing to ensure optimal arterial oxygenation and compromising Q(L). This respiratory system-related impact exacerbates the exercise-induced development of fatigue and compromises endurance performance.
Markus Amann
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural; Review     Date:  2011-11-28
Journal Detail:
Title:  Experimental physiology     Volume:  97     ISSN:  1469-445X     ISO Abbreviation:  Exp. Physiol.     Publication Date:  2012 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-03-14     Completed Date:  2012-08-02     Revised Date:  2014-02-26    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9002940     Medline TA:  Exp Physiol     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  311-8     Citation Subset:  IM    
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MeSH Terms
Athletic Performance / physiology*
Cardiac Output / physiology
Exercise / physiology*
Muscle Fatigue / physiology
Physical Endurance / physiology*
Respiratory Physiological Phenomena*
Grant Support

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