Succinate accumulation in man during exercise

  • Peter W. Hochachka
  • Rudolph H. Dressendorfer

DOI: 10.1007/BF00423282

Cite this article as:
Hochachka, P.W. & Dressendorfer, R.H. Europ. J. Appl. Physiol. (1976) 35: 235. doi:10.1007/BF00423282


It has been demonstrated in several diving vertebrates that succinate, a component of the Krebs cycle, accumulates in blood during breath-hold dives. The production of succinate is thought to result from amino acid catabolism. Our purpose was to determine whether succinate accumulation occurs in man during muscular activity requiring anaerobic energy contribution. Experiments using an endurance athlete included apneic work on an underwater ergometer and treadmill running to exhaustion. During 1 min breath-hold “dives” in cold water while exercising at a work rate equivalent to 62% of \(\dot V\)O2max, venous succinate increased from 42 Μmoles/l (M×10−6) at rest to 125 M×10−6. The treadmill run elicited \(\dot V\)O2max and increased succinate from a similar resting value to 93 M×10−6. Increases in alanine, lactate, and pyruvate were observed for both types of exercise. The findings confirm that succinate accumulation also occurs in man. It was suggested that amino acid catabolism may provide a source of anaerobic energy production in addition to glycolysis. However, the importance of the proposed energy pathway remains to be quantified.

Key words

Succinate Alanine Lactate Pyruvate 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter W. Hochachka
    • 1
  • Rudolph H. Dressendorfer
    • 1
  1. 1.Pacific Biomedical Research Laboratory and Department of PhysiologyUniversity of HawaiiHonoluluUSA
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  3. 3.Human Performance Laboratory, Department of Physical EducationUniversity of California at DavisDavisUSA

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