Exercise-Induced Arterial Hypoxemia: Consequences For Locomotor Muscle Fatigue

  • Lee M. Romer
  • Jerome A. Dempsey
  • Andrew Lovering
  • Marlowe Eldridge
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 588)


Reductions in arterial O2 saturation (−5 to −10 % SaO2 < rest) occur over time during sustained heavy intensity exercise in a normoxic environment, due primarily to the effects of acid pH and increased temperature on the position of the HbO2 dissociation curve. We prevented the desaturation via increased F1O2 (.23 to .29) and showed that exercise time to exhaustion was increased. We used supramaximal magnetic stimulation (1 – 100 Hz) of the femoral nerve to test for quadriceps fatigue. We used mildly hyperoxic inspirates (F1O2 .23 to .29) to prevent O2 desaturation. We then compared the amount of quadriceps fatigue incurred following cycling exercise at SaO2 98% vs. 91% with each trial carried out at equal exercise intensities (90% Max) and for equal durations. Preventing the normal exercise-induced O2 desaturation prevented about one-half the amount of exercise-induced quadriceps fatigue; plasma lactate and effort perception were also reduced. We conclude that the normal exercise-induced O2 desaturation during heavy intensity endurance exercise contributes significantly to exercise performance limitation in part because of its effect on locomotor muscle fatigue. These effects of EIAH were confirmed in mild environmental hypoxia (FIO2 .17, SaO2 88%) which significantly augmented the magnitude of exercise-induced quadriceps fatigue observed in normoxia.

Key Words

quadriceps fatigue central fatigue force:frequency 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Dempsey JA and Wagner PD. Exercise-induced arterial hypoxemia. J Appl Physiol 87: 1997–2006, 1999.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Duhamel TA, Green HJ, Sandiford SD, Perco JG, and Ouyang J. Effects of progressive exercise and hypoxia on human muscle sarcoplasmic reticulum function. J Appl Physiol 97:188–196, 2004.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Fitts RH. Cellular mechanisms of muscle fatigue. Physiol Rev 74: 49–94, 1994.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Garner SH, Sutton JR, Burse RL, McComas AJ, Cymerman A, and Houston CS. Operation Everest II: neuromuscular performance under conditions of extreme simulated altitude. J Appl Physiol 68: 1167–1172, 1990.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Harms CA, McClaran SR, Nickele GA, Pegelow DF, Nelson WB, and Dempsey JA. Effect of exercise-induced arterial O2 desaturation on VO2max in women. Med Sci Sports Exerc 32: 1101–1108, 2000.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Nielsen HB, Boushel R, Madsen P, and Secher NH. Cerebral desaturation during exercise reversed by O2 supplementation. Am J Physiol 277: H1045–1052, 1999.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Hill AV. Muscular exercise, lactic acid and the supply and utilization of oxygen. Parts VII–VIII Proc Royal Soc Br 97: 155–176, 1924CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Pickar JG, Hill JM, and Kaufman MP. Stimulation of vagal afferents inhibits locomotion in mesencephalic cats. J Appl Physioll 74: 103–110, 1993.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Sutton JR, Reeves JT, Wagner PD, Groves BM, Cymerman A, Malconian MK, Rock PB, Young PM, Walter SD, and Houston CS. Operation Everest II: oxygen transport during exercise at extreme simulated altitude. J Appl Physiol 64: 1309–1321, 1988.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Taylor AD, Bronks R, Smith P, and Humphries B. Myoelectric evidence of peripheral muscle fatigue during exercise in severe hypoxia: some references to m. vastus lateralis myosin heavy chain composition. Eur J Appl Physiol 75: 151–159, 1997.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Wetter TJ, St Croix CM, Pegelow DF, Sonetti DA, and Dempsey JA. Effects of exhaustive endurance exercise on pulmonary gas exchange and airway function in women. J Appl Physiol 91: 847–858, 2001.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lee M. Romer
    • 1
  • Jerome A. Dempsey
    • 1
  • Andrew Lovering
    • 1
  • Marlowe Eldridge
    • 1
  1. 1.John Rankin Laboratory of Pulmonary Medicine, Department of Population Health Science and PediatricUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA

Personalised recommendations