Respiratory Effects of Breathing High Oxygen During Incremental Exercise in Humans

  • Jaideep J. Pandit
  • Peter A. Robbins
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 499)


During incremental exercise to exhaustion, minute ventilation (V E) increases in a linear manner with respect to work rate, oxygen consumption (VO2) and carbon dioxide production (VC02), until a threshold level of work rate. After this point, the slope of the VE/work rate relationship is steeper than it was at lower work rates. This point is known as the ventilatory anaerobic threshold (VAT). At approximately the same threshold work rate, blood lactate concentration begins to rise significantly from its resting level (the lactate anaerobic threshold, LAT), and this may or may not be causally related to the VAT. Wasserman et al. 1 have argued that lactic acidosis contributes to an additional component of the ventilatory response via stimulation of the peripheral chemoreceptors, and that this is an adaptive response in which the ensuing respiratory alkalosis limits the fall in pH generated by metabolic acidosis. Consistent with this hypothesis, it has been observed that subjects who have undergone carotid body resection do not show the characteristic slope of the VE/work rate relationship above the anaerobic threshold and lose the inflection point of the VAT1. However, subjects with McArdle’s syndrome (myophosphorylase deficiency) produce no lactic acid and hence lack a lactate anaerobic threshold, but they nonetheless demonstrate a ventilatory anaerobic threshold2. Paterson et al. 3 have argued that arterial plasma potassium (K+), rather than lactic acid, contributes to the hyperventilation above VAT in these (and perhaps also in normal) subjects. Regardless of whether K+ or lactate is the chemical stimulus to the extra ventilation above VAT, there is general agreement that both these stimuli act via the final common pathway of the carotid bodies.


Work Rate Carotid Body Anaerobic Threshold Ventilatory Response Incremental Exercise 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    K. Wasserman, B.J. Whipp, S.N. Koyal, and M.G. Cleary, Effect of carotid body resection on ventilatory and acid-base control during exercise, J. Appl. Physiol 39, 354–358 (1975).PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    J.M. Hagberg, E.F. Coyle, J.E. Carroll, J.M. Miller, W.H. Martin, and M.H. Brooke, Exercise hyperventilation in patients with McArdle’s disease, J. Appl. Physiol 52, 991–994 (1982).PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    D.J. Paterson, J.S. Friedland, D.A. Bascom, I.D. Clement, D.A. Cunningham, R. Painter, and P.A. Robbins, Changes in arterial K+ and ventilation during exercise in normal subjects and subjects with McArdle’s syndrome., J. Physiol. 429, 339–348 (1990).PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    L.C. Henson, D.S. Ward, and B.J. Whipp. Effect of dopamine on ventilatory response to incremental exercise in man, Respir. Physiol. 89, 209–224 (1992).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    M.J. Miller, and S.M. Tenney, Hyperoxic hyperventilation in carotid-deafferented cats, Respir. Physiol. 23, 23–30 (1975).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    R.G. Bannister, and D.J.C. Cunningham, The effects on the respiration and performance during exercise of adding oxygen to the inspired air, J. Physiol. 125, 118–137 (1954).PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    J.J. Pandit, and P.A. Robbins, Ventilation and gas exchange during sustained exercise at normal and raised CO2 in man, Resp. Physiol. 88, 101–112 (1992).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    W.L. Beaver, K. Wasserman, and B.J. Whipp, A new method for detecting anaerobic threshold by gas exchange, J. Appl. Physiol 60, 2020–2027 (1986).PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    R.L. Hughes, M. Clode, R.H.T. Edwards, T.J. Goodwin, and N.L. Jones, The effect of inspired 02 on cardiopulmonary and metabolic responses to exercise in man, J. Appl. Physiol 24, 336–347 (1968).PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    M.C. Hogan, R.H. Cox, and H.G. Welch. Lactate accumulation during incremental exercise with varied inspired oxygen fractions, J. Appl. Physiol. 55: 1134–1140 (1983).PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    L.C. Henson, T.T. Nguyen, B.J. Whipp, and D.S. Ward. Effect of hyperoxia on ventilation above lactate threshold, FASEB J. 6, 1370 (1992).Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    M. Pokorski, and S. Lahiri, Aortic and carotid chemoreceptor responses to metabolic acidosis in the cat, Am. J. Physiol. 244, R652–R658 (1983).PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    R.E. Burger, J.A. Estavillo, P. Kumar, P.C.G. Nye, and D.J. Paterson, Effects of potassium, oxygen, and carbon dioxide on steady-state discharge of cat carotid body receptors, J. Physiol. 401, 519–531 (1988).PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    J.H.G.M. Van Beek, A. Berkenbosch, J. DeGoede, and C.N. Olievier, Influence of peripheral 02 tension on the ventilatory response to CO2 in cats, Respir. Physiol. 51, 379–390 (1983).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    M.E.F. Pedersen, M. Fatemian, and P.A. Robbins. Identification of fast and slow ventilatory responses to carbon dioxide under hypoxic and hyperoxic conditions in humans, J. Physiol 521, 273–287 (1999).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    P. Dejours, Intérêt méthodologique de l’étude d’un organisme vivant à la phase initiale de rupture d’un équilibre physiologique. Comptes rendus des Séances de l’Académie des Sciences Paris 245, 1946–1948 (1957).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jaideep J. Pandit
    • 1
  • Peter A. Robbins
    • 2
  1. 1.Nuffield Department of AnaestheticsJohn Radcliffe HospitalOxfordUK
  2. 2.University Laboratory of PhysiologyOxfordUK

Personalised recommendations