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Effects of beta-adrenergic blockade on ventilation and gas exchange during exercise in humans.


The effects of beta-adrenergic blockade induced by intravenous propranolol hydrochloride (0.2 mg/kg) on ventilatory and gas exchange responses to exercise were studied during tests in which the work rate was either increased progressively or maintained at a constant load in six healthy young male subjects. Heart rate during exercise decreased by about 20% and cardiac output, as estimated by a modification of the method of Kim et al. (J. Appl. Physiol. 21: 1338-1344, 1966), by about 15%. The relation between work rate and O2 uptake (VO2) was unaffected by propranolol, whereas maximal O2 uptake (VO2max) decreased by 5% and the anaerobic threshold, estimated noninvasively, was lowered by 23%. The relations between CO2 output (VCO2) and end-tidal CO2 partial pressure (PCO2) and between VCO2 and minute ventilation (VE) were both unaffected. The time constants for changes of VO2, VCO2, and VE during on-transients from unloaded pedaling to either a moderate (ca. 50% VO2max) or a heavy (ca. 67% VO2max) work rate in the control studies were in agreement with previously reported values, i.e., 42, 60, and 69 s, respectively. beta-Blockade was associated with a significantly increased time constant for VO2 of 61 s but with less consistent and insignificant changes for VCO2 and VE. There was a small but significant increase of the time constant for heart rate from 40 to 45 s. It is concluded that propranolol exerts its primary influence during exercise on the cardiovascular system without any discernible effect on ventilatory control.

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