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Int J Sports Med. 2001 Aug;22(6):393-9.

Redistribution of pulmonary blood flow during hypoxic exercise.

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Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, University of Kansas, Medical Center, Kanasas City, USA.


Pulmonary blood flow (PBF) distribution was studied at rest and during exercise in rats acclimatized to chronic hypoxia (barometric pressure [PB] 370 Torr for 3 weeks, A rats) and non-acclimatized (NA) littermates. Both A and NA rats exercised in hypoxia (inspired O2 pressure [PIO2] approximately 70 Torr) or in normoxia (PlO2 approximately 145 Torr). PBF distribution was determined using fluorescent-labeled microspheres injected into the right atrium. The lungs were cut into 28 samples to determine relative scatter of specific PBF ([sample fluorescence intensity/sample dry weight)/(total lung fluorescence intensity/total lung dry weight]). Exercise produced redistribution of PBF both in NA and A rats, and this effect was larger in hypoxia than in normoxia, with minimal redistribution occurring during normoxic exercise in NA rats. The pattern of distribution varies considerably among individual animals. As a result of distribution, the previous high flow areas would be overperfused during hypoxic exercise in some rats. The results support the concept that hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction is not uniform and suggest that the combination of hypoxia and exercise may lead to overperfusion and capillary leak in some individuals.

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