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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2003 Jul;95(1):149-58. Epub 2003 Feb 28.

Muscle oxygenation and pulmonary gas exchange kinetics during cycling exercise on-transitions in humans.

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Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Biomediche, School of Medicine, University of Milan, Milan, Italy.


Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) was utilized to gain insights into the kinetics of oxidative metabolism during exercise transitions. Ten untrained young men were tested on a cycle ergometer during transitions from unloaded pedaling to 5 min of constant-load exercise below (<VT) or above (>VT) the ventilatory threshold. Vastus lateralis oxygenation was determined by NIRS, and pulmonary O2 uptake (Vo --> Vo2) was determined breath-by-breath. Changes in deoxygenated hemoglobin + myoglobin concentration Delta[deoxy(Hb + Mb)] were taken as a muscle oxygenation index. At the transition, [Delta[deoxy(Hb + Mb)]] was unmodified [time delay (TD)] for 8.9 +/- 0.5 s at <VT or 6.4 +/- 0.9 s at >VT (both significantly different from 0) and then increased, following a monoexponential function [time constant (tau) = 8.5 +/- 0.9 s for <VT and 7.2 +/- 0.7 s for >VT]. For >VT a slow component of Delta[deoxy(Hb + Mb)] on-kinetics was observed in 9 of 10 subjects after 75.0 +/- 14.0 s of exercise. A significant correlation was described between the mean response time (MRT = TD + tau) of the primary component of Delta[deoxy(Hb + Mb)] on-kinetics and the tau of the primary component of the pulmonary Vo2 on-kinetics. The constant muscle oxygenation during the initial phase of the on-transition indicates a tight coupling between increases in O2 delivery and O2 utilization. The lack of a drop in muscle oxygenation at the transition suggests adequacy of O2 availability in relation to needs.

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