Intraerythrocyte and plasma lactate concentrations during exercise in humans

  • Michael J. Buono
  • John E. Yeager


The purpose of this study was to examine plasma and intraerythrocyte lactate concentrations during graded exercise in humans. Seven adult volunteers performed a maximum O2 uptake (\(\dot V_{O_{_2 max} } \)) test on a cycle ergometer. Plasma and intraerythrocyte lactate concentrations (mmol · L−1 of plasma or cell water) were determined at rest, during exercise, and at 15-min post-exercise. The results show that plasma and intraerythrocyte lactate concentrations were not significantly different from each other at rest or moderate (⩽50%\(\dot V_{O_{_2 max} } \)) exercise. However, the plasma concentrations were significantly increased over the intraerythrocyte levels at 75% and 100%\(\dot V_{O_{_2 max} } \). The plasma to red cell lactate gradient reached a mean (±SE) 1.7±0.4 mmol · L−1 of H2O at exhaustion, and was linearly (r=0.84) related to the plasma lactate concentration during exercise. Interestingly, at 15-min post-exercise the direction of the lactate gradient was reversed, with the mean intraerythrocyte concentration now being significantly increased over that found in the plasma. These results suggest that the erythrocyte membrane provides a barrier to the flux of lactate between plasma and red cells during rapidly changing blood lactate levels. Furthermore, these data add to the growing body of research that indicates that lactate is not evenly distributed in the various water compartments of the body during non-steady state exercise.

Key words

Exertion Cell/plasma gradients Body water Red cells 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael J. Buono
    • 1
    • 2
  • John E. Yeager
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.San Diego State University Heart InstituteUSA
  2. 2.the Departments of Biology and Physical EducationSan Diego State UniversitySan DiegoUSA

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