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Fed Proc. 1986 Dec;45(13):2953-7.

Lactate during exercise at extreme altitude.

Abstract

Maximal exercise at extreme altitude results in profound arterial hypoxemia and, presumably, extreme tissue hypoxia. The best evidence available indicates that the resting arterial PO2 on the summit of Mount Everest is about 28 torr and that it falls even further during exercise. Nevertheless, some 10 climbers have now reached the summit without supplementary oxygen. Paradoxically, blood lactate for a given work rate at high altitude in acclimatized subjects is essentially the same as at sea level. Because work capacity decreases markedly with increasing altitude, maximal blood lactate also falls. Extrapolation of available data up to 6300 m indicates that a climber who reaches the Everest summit will have no increase in blood lactate. The cause of the low blood lactate during exercise at extreme altitude is not fully understood. One possibility is depletion of plasma bicarbonate in acclimatized subjects, which reduces buffering and results in large increases in H+ concentration for a given release of lactate. The consequent local fall in pH may inhibit enzymes, e.g., phosphofructokinase (EC 2.7.1.56), in the glycolytic pathway.

PMID:
3536595
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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