Adjustments of pulmonary O2 uptake and muscle deoxygenation during ramp incremental exercise and constant-load moderate-intensity exercise in young and older adults

Braden M R Gravelle, Juan M Murias, Matthew D Spencer, Donald H Paterson, John M Kowalchuk
Journal of Applied Physiology 2012, 113 (9): 1466-75
The matching of muscle O(2) delivery to O(2) utilization can be inferred from the adjustments in muscle deoxygenation (Δ[HHb]) and pulmonary O(2) uptake (Vo(2p)). This study examined the adjustments of Vo(2p) and Δ[HHb] during ramp incremental (RI) and constant-load (CL) exercise in adult males. Ten young adults (YA; age: 25 ± 5 yr) and nine older adults (OA; age: 70 ± 3 yr) completed two RI tests and six CL step transitions to a work rate (WR) corresponding to 1) 80% of the estimated lactate threshold (same relative WR) and 2) 50 W (same absolute WR). Vo(2p) was measured breath by breath, and Δ[HHb] of the vastus lateralis was measured using near-infrared spectroscopy. Δ[HHb]-WR profiles were normalized from baseline (0%) to peak Δ[HHb] (100%) and fit using a sigmoid function. The sigmoid slope (d) was greater (P < 0.05) in OA (0.027 ± 0.01%/W) compared with YA (0.017 ± 0.01%/W), and the c/d value (a value corresponding to 50% of the amplitude) was smaller (P < 0.05) for OA (133 ± 40 W) than for YA (195 ± 51 W). No age-related differences in the sigmoid parameters were reported when WR was expressed as a percentage of peak WR. Vo(2p) kinetics compared with Δ[HHb] kinetics for the 50-W transition were similar between YA and OA; however, Δ[HHb] kinetics during the transition to 80% of the lactate threshold were faster than Vo(2p) kinetics in both groups. The greater reliance on O(2) extraction displayed in OA during RI exercise suggests a lower O(2) delivery-to-O(2) utilization relationship at a given absolute WR compared with YA.

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