Introduction: Role of Potassium in Exercise Hyperpnoea

  • David J. Paterson
  • Peter A. Robbins
  • Piers C. G. Nye


It is generally accepted that ventilation (̇VE) in exercise is regulated by a combination of neural and chemical drives, but the exact nature and relative contributions of the controlling signals are not agreed upon. Current thinking suggests that this control is based on a high degree of redundancy so that no single factor is responsible1. Recently, attention has focused on the idea that a substance that is released from exercising muscle2, 3 may contribute significantly to this control. This chapter examines evidence4, 5 which suggests that potassium fulfils the criteria of being a work substance and, that it stimulates ̇VE in exercise by increasing the sensitivity of the arterial chemoreflex.


Carotid Body Ventilatory Response Glycogen Depletion Incremental Exercise Test Arterial Chemoreceptor 
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.
    D.J.C. Cunningham, Studies on arterial chemoreceptors in man, J. Physiol 384:1–26 (1987).PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    J. Geppert and N. Zuntz, Ueber die Regulation der Atmung, Arch Ges Physiol 42:189–244 (1888).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    E. Asmussen and M. Nielsen, Studies on the regulation of respiration in heavy work, Acta Physiol Scand 12:171–188 (1946).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    D.J. Paterson, Potassium and ventilation in exercise, J Appl Physiol (1992).(in press)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    R.A.F. Linton and D.M. Band, Potassium and breathing, News Physiol Sci 5:104–107 (1990).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    J.L. Medbo and O.M. Sejersted, Plasma potassium and high intensity exercise, J Physiol 421:105–122 (1990).PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    W.O. Fenn and D.M. Cobb, Electrolyte changes in muscle during activity, Am J Physiol 115:345–356 (1936).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    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
  9. 9.
    C.G. Newstead, G.C. Donaldson, and J.R. Sneyd, Potassium as a respiratory signal in humans, J Appl Physiol 69:1799–1803 (1990).PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    D.J. Paterson, P.A. Robbins, and J. Conway, Changes in arterial potassium and ventilation in response to exercise in humans, Respir Physiol 78:323–330 (1989).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    T. Clausen, Regulation of active Na-K transport in skeletal muscle, Physiol Rev 66:542–580 (1986).PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    C. Juel, Is a Ca dependent K channel involved in the K loss from active muscle? Acta Physiol Scand 132:P26 (1988). (Abstract)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    D.J. Paterson, N. Vejlstrup, D. Willford, and M.C. Hogan, Effect of a sulphonylurea on dog skeletal muscle performance during fatiguing work, Acta Physiol Scand 114:399–400 (1992).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    N.A. Castle and D.G. Haylett, Effect of channel blockers on potassium efflux from metabolically exhausted frog skeletal muscle, J Physiol 383:31–45 (1987).PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    U.S. Von Euler, Reflektorische und zentrale Wirkung von Kaliumionen auf Blutdruck und Atmung, Skand Arch Physiol 80:94–123 (1938).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    J.H. Comroe and C.F. Schmidt, Reflexes from the limbs as a factor in the hyperpnea of muscular exercise, Am J Physiol 138:536–547 (1943).Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    K. Wildenthal, D.S. Mierzniak, N.S. Skinner, and J.H. Mitchell, Potassium-induced cardiovascular and ventilatory reflexes from the dog hindlimb, Am J Physiol 215:542–548 (1968).PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    A. Jarisch, S. Landgren, E. Neil, and Y. Zotterman, Impulse activity in the carotid sinus nerve folloowing intra-carotid injection of potassium cholride, veratrine, sodium citrate, adenosinetriphosphate and alpha dinitrophenol, Acta Physiol Scand 25:195–211 (1952).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    R.A.F. Linton and D.M. Band, The effect of potassium on carotid chemoreceptor activity and ventilation in the cat, Respir Physiol 59:65–70 (1985).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    D.M. Band, R.A.F. Linton, R. Kent, and F.L. Kurer, The effect of peripheral chemodenervation on the ventilatory responses to potassium, Respir Physiol 60:217–225 (1985).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    D.M. Band and R.A.F. Linton, The effect of potassium on carotid body chemoreceptor discharge in the anaesthetized cat, J Physiol 381:39–47 (1986).PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    D.J. Paterson and P.C.G. Nye, The effect of beta adrenergic blockade on carotid body chemoreceptors during hyperkalaemia in the cat, Respir Physiol 74:229–238 (1988).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    R.E. Burger, J.A. Estavillo, P. Kumar, P.C.G. Nye, and D.J. Paterson, Effects of oxygen, carbon dioxide and potassium on steady-state discharge of cat carotid body chemoreceptors, J Physiol 401:519–531 (1988).PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    D.J. Paterson and P.C.G. Nye, Effect of oxygen on potassium-excited ventilation in the decerebrate cat, Respir Physiol 84:223–230 (1991).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    D.J. Paterson, K.L. Dorrington, D.H. Begel, G. Kerr, R.C. Miall, J.F. Stein, and P.C.G. Nye, Effect of potassium on ventilation in the rhesus monkey, Expt Physiol 77:217–220 (1992).Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    D.J. Paterson, P.A. Robbins, and J. Conway, Changes in arterial plasma potassium and ventilation during exercise in man, Respir Physiol 78:323–330 (1989).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    T. Yoshida, M. Chida, M. Ichioka, K. Makiguchi, J. Eguchi, and Masao. Udo, Relationship between ventilation and arterial potassium concentration during incremental exercise and recovery, Euro J Appl Physiol 61:193–196 (1990).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    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
  29. 29.
    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
  30. 30.
    M. Busse, N. Maassen, H. Konrad, and D. Boning, Interrelationship between pH, plasma potassium concentration and ventilation during intense continuous exercise in man, Euro J Appl Physiol 59:256–261 (1989).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    H. Folgering, J. Ponte, and T. Sadig, Adrenergic mechanisms and chemoreception in the carotid body of the cat and rabbit, J Physiol 325:1–22 (1982).PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    J.H. Coote, S.M. Hilton, and J.F. Perez-Gonzalez, The reflex nature of the pressure responses to hypoxia and hyperoxia to muscular exercise, J Physiol 215:789–804 (1971).PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    D.J.C. Cunningham, B.B. Lloyd, and D. Spurr, Doubts about the anaerobic work substance as a stimulus to breathing in exercise, J Physiol 186:110P–111P (1966).PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • David J. Paterson
    • 1
  • Peter A. Robbins
    • 1
  • Piers C. G. Nye
    • 1
  1. 1.University Laboratory of PhysiologyOxfordUK

Personalised recommendations