Lactate kinetics after short strenuous exercise in man


Arterial blood lactate was measured at 10 s time intervals after a 3 min strenuous exercise for six athletes pedaling a bicycle ergometer in the sitting position. Recovery curves were fitted to the equation:

$$Y(t) = A_1 (1 - e^{ - \gamma _1 t} ) + A_2 (1 - e^{ - \gamma _2 t} ) + Y(0)$$


The evolution of arterial lactate concentrations during recovery can accurately be represented by this equation. The values of the coefficients A and γ found were used for a numerical application to an open two-compartment model: the “working muscle space” (1) and the “lactate space” (2). Intramuscular concentrations, the transfer coefficients from compartment 1 to compartment 2 and from compartment 2 to compartment 1 and the fractional turnover and basal turnover rate were calculated. Computed intramuscular lactate concentrations at the end of exercise compare favorably with those found earlier by muscular biopsic samplings. The turnover data are higher than those previously reported. This discrepancy may possibly be attributed to the method of mathematical analysis.

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A 1, A 2 :

Amplitudes of the two exponential terms fitted on the arterial lactate concentrations (Μmol·l−1)

B 1, B 2 :

Amplitudes of the two exponential terms of the intramuscular lactate concentrations (mol·l−1)

BM :

Body mass


Basal turnover rate of the lactate pool calculated from the relationship: \(BTR = K_{s^\infty } \times C_s (\infty ) \times 0.377(\mu {\text{mol}} \cdot {\text{kg(}}BM{\text{)}}^{{\text{ - 1}}} \cdot \min ^{ - 1} )\) (Μmol·kg (BM)−1·min−1)

C m (t) :

Lactate concentration in the “working muscle space” at time t (Μmol·l−1 wet muscle)

C s (t) :

Lactate concentrations in the “lactate space” at time t (Μmol·l−1)

γ 1, γ 2 :

Velocity constants of the fitted exponential terms (min−1)

K ms :

Transfert coefficient from the “working muscle space” to the “lactate space” (min−1)

K sm :

Transfert coefficient from the “lactate space” to the “working muscle space” (min−1)

\(K_{s^\infty }\) :

Fractional turnover of lactate (min−1)

P Rm :

Lactate production in the “working muscle space” Μmol·l−1·min−1

P Rs :

Lactate production in the “lactate space” Μmol·l−1·min−1

t :

Time after the end of exercise (min)

V m :

Volume of the “working muscle space” (1)

V s :

Volume of the ‘lactate space” (1) [37.7% of the body mass]

V ms = V m /V s :
Y i :

Pre-exercise arterial lactate concentration (Μmol·l−1)

Y max :

Arterial lactate peak value during recovery (Μmol·l−1)

Y(t) :

Arterial lactate concentration at time t (Μmol·l−1)


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Freund, H., Gendry, P. Lactate kinetics after short strenuous exercise in man. Europ. J. Appl. Physiol. 39, 123–135 (1978).

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Key words

  • Arterial blood lactate
  • Recovery
  • Short strenuous exercise
  • Intramuscular lactate
  • Compartment analysis