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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2005 Sep;37(9):1542-50.

Oxygen uptake dynamics: from muscle to mouth--an introduction to the symposium.

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School of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Exeter, St. Luke's Campus,


The purpose of this paper is to provide an introduction to the study of oxygen uptake (VO(2)) dynamics or kinetics. Following the onset of exercise, both muscle and pulmonary VO(2) rise in a near-exponential fashion towards the anticipated "steady-state" VO(2) demand. However, it can take 2-4 min, or even longer at higher work rates, before this steady state is attained. Slow VO(2) kinetics increase the so-called O(2) deficit and obligate a greater contribution from anaerobic mechanisms of ATP production (involving the breakdown of muscle high energy phosphates and lactate production from glycogen) to meet the ATP requirement of the exercise task. A primary goal in this area of research is therefore to elucidate the physiological mechanisms which control and/or limit the rate at which muscle VO(2) increases following the onset of exercise. At higher intensities of exercise, a continued increase in both muscle and pulmonary VO(2) is observed with time despite the external work rate remaining constant. This continued rise in VO(2), beyond the anticipated steady-state requirement for the work rate, has been termed the VO(2) "slow component," and establishing the mechanistic basis for this phenomenon is another important goal of research in this field. This paper provides an overview of some of the factors which might contribute to both the fundamental and slow phases of the VO(2) kinetics and, in so doing, provides general background material for the more specific papers that follow.

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