Regulation of perfusive O2 transport during exercise in humans: Effects of changes in haemoglobin concentration

G. Ferretti, B. Kayser, F. Schena, D. L. Turner, H. Hoppeler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


1. Recently it was suggested that submaximal cardiac output (Q̇) could vary in response to changes in arterial O2 concentration (C(a,o2)), so that arterial O2 delivery (Q̇(a,o2)) = Q̇ x C(a,o2), in ml min-1) is kept constant. 2. This hypothesis was tested on eight healthy male subjects, at rest and during exercise (50, 100 and 150 W) in three conditions: normaemia (N), after 6 weeks of endurance training (T), and 2 days after subsequent autologous blood reinfusion (P). 3. Measured variables were oxygen consumption (V̇(O2)), by open circuit method, Q̇, by a CO2 rebreathing method, and haemoglobin concentration ([Hb]), by a photometric method. C(a,o2) was calculated as the product of [Hb], arterial O2 saturation (0.97), and the O2 binding coefficient. 4. [Hb] and thus C(a,o2) increased by 2.6% (T vs. N) and subsequently by further 5.8% (P vs. T). V̇(O2) and Q̇(a,o2) were linear functions of power (ẇ), both relationships being unaffected by changes in C(a,o2). As a consequence, the linear Q̇ vs V̇(o2) relationships were shifted downward as C(a,o2) increased. 5. The V̇(O2) vs. ẇ and the Q̇(a,o2) vs. ẇ relationships had the same slope. Therefore, the difference between Q̇(a,o2) (ẇ) and V̇(O2) (ẇ), equal to O2 flow in mixed venous blood (Q̇(v,o2)), was constant. 6. In conclusion, the tested hypothesis was supported by the present results. The observed constancy of Q̇(v,o2) suggested that Q̇(v,o2) may play a key role in regulating the cardiovascular response to exercise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)679-688
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Physiology
Publication statusPublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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