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Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2004 Oct 12;143(1):37-48.

Acute hypoxic ventilatory response and exercise-induced arterial hypoxemia in men and women.

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  • 1Health and Integrative Physiology Laboratory, School of Human Kinetics, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z1.


Recent studies claim a higher prevalence of exercise-induced arterial hypoxemia (EIAH) in women relative to men and that diminished peripheral chemosensitivity is related to the degree of arterial desaturation during exercise in male endurance athletes. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between the acute ventilatory response to hypoxia (AHVR) and EIAH and the potential influence of gender in trained endurance cyclists and untrained individuals. Healthy untrained males (n = 9) and females (n = 9) and trained male (n = 11) and female (n = 10) cyclists performed an isocapnic AHVR test followed by an incremental cycle test to exhaustion. Oxyhemoglobin saturation (Sa(O(2)) was lower in trained men (91.4 +/- 0.9%) and women (91.3 +/- 0.9%) compared to their untrained counterparts (94.4 +/- 0.8% versus 94.3 +/- 0.7%) (P < 0.05). AHVR and maximal O(2) consumption were related for all subjects (r = -0.46), men (r = -0.45) and women (r = -0.53) (P < 0.05) but AHVR was unrelated to Sa(O(2)) for any groups (P > 0.05). We conclude that resting AHVR does not have a significant role in maintaining Sa(O(2)) during sea-level maximal cycle exercise in men or women.

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