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Exp Physiol. 2010 Apr;95(4):528-40. doi: 10.1113/expphysiol.2009.050500. Epub 2009 Dec 22.

Influence of hyperoxia on muscle metabolic responses and the power-duration relationship during severe-intensity exercise in humans: a 31P magnetic resonance spectroscopy study.

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School of Sport and Health Sciences, St Luke's Campus, University of Exeter, Exeter EX1 2LU, UK.


Severe-intensity constant-work-rate exercise results in the attainment of maximal oxygen uptake, but the muscle metabolic milieu at the limit of tolerance (T(lim)) for such exercise remains to be elucidated. We hypothesized that T(lim) during severe-intensity exercise would be associated with the attainment of consistently low values of intramuscular phosphocreatine ([PCr]) and pH, as determined using (31)P magnetic resonance spectroscopy, irrespective of the work rate and the inspired O(2) fraction. We also hypothesized that hyperoxia would increase the asymptote of the hyperbolic power-duration relationship (the critical power, CP) without altering the curvature constant (W). Seven subjects (mean +/- s.d., age 30 +/- 9 years) completed four constant-work-rate knee-extension exercise bouts to the limit of tolerance (range, 3-10 min) both in normoxia (N) and in hyperoxia (H; 70% O(2)) inside the bore of 1.5 T superconducting magnet. The [PCr] (approximately 5-10% of resting baseline) and pH (approximately 6.65) at the limit of tolerance during each of the four trials was not significantly different either in normoxia or in hyperoxia. At the same fixed work rate, the overall rate at which [PCr] fell with time was attenuated in hyperoxia (mean response time: N, 59 +/- 20 versus H, 116 +/- 46 s; P < 0.05). The CP was higher (N, 16.1 +/- 2.6 versus H, 18.0 +/- 2.3 W; P < 0.05) and the W was lower (N, 1.92 +/- 0.70 versus H, 1.48 +/- 0.31 kJ; P < 0.05) in hyperoxia compared with normoxia. These data indicate that T(lim) during severe-intensity exercise is associated with the attainment of consistently low values of muscle [PCr] and pH. The CP and W parameters of the power-duration relationship were both sensitive to the inspiration of hyperoxic gas.

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