Advertisement

European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 101, Issue 6, pp 753–759 | Cite as

Total haemoglobin mass and spleen contraction: a study on competitive apnea divers, non-diving athletes and untrained control subjects

  • Nicole Prommer
  • Ulrich Ehrmann
  • Walter Schmidt
  • Jürgen M. Steinacker
  • Peter Radermacher
  • Claus-Martin Muth
Original Article

Abstract

In diving mammals splenic contraction increases circulating red cell volume, whereas in humans increased haemoglobin concentrations have been reported. It is unknown, however, whether repetitive apnea diving also comprises an adaptive increase in total red cell volume as reported in endurance athletes. The first aim of the study therefore was to investigate the effect of repeated apnea dives on splenic size and putative red cell release in trained apnea divers (n = 10) and control subjects (SCUBA divers performing apneas without long-term apnea training, n = 7). Long-term effects of repetitive apnea diving may elevate the oxygen transport capacity by an adaptive increase in total haemoglobin mass as reported in endurance athletes. The second goal, therefore, was to compare the trained apnea divers’ and the control divers’ total haemoglobin mass (tHb-mass) with that of endurance-trained (n = 9) and untrained (n = 10) non-divers. Before and immediately after a series of five dives to a depth of 4 m in a heated pool, spleen volume was assessed with ultrasound tomography. tHb-mass and plasma volume were measured using the CO-rebreathing method. In the trained apnea divers, repeated apnea dives resulted in a 25% reduction of spleen size (P < 0.001), whereas no significant effect was observed in the control subjects. While tHb-mass did not differ between trained apnea divers, untrained SCUBA divers performing apneas and untrained non-divers, it was 30% lower than in endurance-trained non-divers. We conclude that prolonged apnea training causes marked apnea-induced splenic contraction. In contrast to athletes in endurance sports, the trained apnea divers did not present with increased total haemoglobin mass and, hence, no increase in blood oxygen stores.

Keywords

Spleen Red cell volume Haemoglobin mass Blood volume Apnea diving CO-rebreathing method 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank Claus Vorwalter and Eva Harasta for skilful technical assistance. We are indebted to all individual divers for having participated in the study with dedication and enthusiasm.

References

  1. Bakovic D, Valic Z, Eterovic D, Vukovic I, Obad A, Marinovic-Terzic I, Dujic Z (2003) Spleen volume and blood flow response to repeated breath-hold apneas. J Appl Physiol 95:1460–1466PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Bakovic D, Eterovic D, Saratlija-Novakovic Z, Palada I, Valic Z, Bilopavlovic N, Dujic Z (2005) Effect of human splenic contraction on variation in circulating blood cell counts. Clin Exp Pharm Physiol 32:944–951CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Eckardt KU, Bouttellier U, Kurtz A, Schopen M, Koller EA, Bauer C (1989) Rate of erythropoietin formation in humans in response to acute hypobaric hypoxia. J Appl Physiol 66:1785–1788PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Epstein M (1992) Renal effects of head-out water immersion in humans: a 15-year update. Physiol Rev 72:563–621PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Espersen K, Frandsen H, Lorentzen T, Kanstrup IL, Christensen NJ (2002) The human spleen as an erythrocyte reservoir in diving-related interventions. J Appl Physiol 92:2071–2079PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Ferrant A, Leners N, Michaux JL, Verwilghen RL, Sokal G (1987) The spleen and haemolysis: evaluation of the intrasplenic transit time. Br J Haematol 65:31–34PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Ferretti G, Costa M (2003) Diversity in and adaptation to breath-hold diving in humans. Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol 136:205–213PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Foster GE, Sheel AW (2005) The human diving response, its function, and its control. Scand J Med Sci Sports 15:3–12PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gooden BA (1994) Mechanism of the human diving response. Integr Physiol Behav Sci 1994(29):6–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gore CJ, Hopkins WG, Burge CM (2005) Errors of measurement for blood volume parameters: a meta-analysis. J Appl Physiol 99:1745–1758PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Heinicke K, Wolfarth B, Winchenbach P, Biermann B, Schmid A, Huber G, Friedmann B, Schmidt W (2001) Blood volume and hemoglobin mass in elite athletes of different disciplines. Int J Sports Med 22:504–512PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Heinicke K, Prommer N, Cajigal J, Viola T, Behn C, Schmidt W (2003) Long-term exposure to intermittent hypoxia results in increased hemoglobin mass, reduced plasma volume, and elevated erythropoietin plasma levels in man. Eur J Appl Physiol 88:535–543PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Hurford WE, Hong SK, Park YS, Ahn DW, Shiraki K, Mohri M, Zapol WM (1990) Splenic contraction during breath-hold diving in the Korean ama. J Appl Physiol 69:932–936PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Hurford WE, Hochchka PW, Schneider RC, Guyton GP, Stanek KS, Zapol DG, Liggins GC, Zapol WM (1996) Splenic contraction, catecholamine release, and blood volume redistribution during diving in the Weddell seal. J Appl Physiol 80:298–306PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Knaupp W, Khilnani S, Sherwood J, Scharf S, Steinberg H (1992) Erythropoietin response to acute normobaric hypoxia in humans. J Appl Physiol 73:837–840PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Koga T (1979) Correlation between sectional area of the spleen by ultrasonic tomography and actual volume of the removed spleen. J Clin Ultrasound 7:119–120PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Martino M, Gledhill N, Jamnik V (2002) High VO2max with no history of training is primarily due to high blood volume. Med Sci Sports Exerc 34:966–971PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Matsuda S, Uchida T (1989) Blood cell kinetics in the spleen. Rinsho Ketsueki 30:1261–1265PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Muth CM, Ehrmann U, Radermacher P (2005) Physiological and clinical aspects of apnea diving. Clin Chest Med 26:381–94PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Overgaard K, Friis S, Pedersen RB, Lykkeboe G (2006) Influence of lung volume, glossopharyngeal inhalation and PETO2 and PETO2 on apnea performance in trained breath-hold divers. Eur J Appl Physiol 97:158–164PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Radermacher P, Muth CM (2002) Apnoetauchen—Physiologie und Pathophysiologie. Dtsch Z Sportmed 53:185–191 Google Scholar
  22. Schagatay E, Andersson JPA, Hallén M, Pålsson B (2001) Selected contribution: role of spleen emptying in prolonging apneas in humans. J Appl Physiol 90:1623–1629PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Schagatay E, Haughey H, Reimers J (2005) Speed of spleen volume changes evoked by serial apneas. Eur J Appl 93:447–452CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Schmidt W (2002) Effects of intermittent hypoxia to high altitude on blood volume and erythropoietic activity. High Alt Med Biol 3:167–176PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Schmidt W, Prommer N (2005) The optimised CO-rebreathing method: a new tool to determine total haemoglobin mass routinely. Eur J Appl Physiol 95:486–495PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Stewart IB, McKenzie DC (2002) The human spleen during physiologic stress. Sports Med 2002(32):361–369CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Stewart IB, Warburton DER, Hodges ANH, Lyster DM, McKenzie DC (2003) Cardiovascular and splenic responses to exercise in humans. J Appl Physiol 94:1619–1626PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Thornton SJ, Spielman DM, Pelc NJ, Block WF, Crocker DE, Costa DP, LeBoeuf BJ, Hochachka PW (2001) Effect of forced diving on the spleen and hepatic sinus in northern elephant seal pups. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 98:9413–9418PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicole Prommer
    • 1
  • Ulrich Ehrmann
    • 2
  • Walter Schmidt
    • 1
  • Jürgen M. Steinacker
    • 3
  • Peter Radermacher
    • 2
  • Claus-Martin Muth
    • 2
  1. 1.Arbeitsbereich SportmedizinUniversitätBayreuthGermany
  2. 2.Sektion Anästhesiologische Pathophysiologie und Verfahrensentwicklung UniversitätsklinikumUlmGermany
  3. 3.Sektion Sport- und RehabilitationsmedizinUniversitätsklinikumUlmGermany

Personalised recommendations