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Chronic intermittent hypoxia and incremental cycling exercise independently depress muscle in vitro maximal Na+-K+-ATPase activity in well-trained athletes

journal contribution
posted on 2005-01-01, 00:00 authored by R Aughey, C Gore, A Hahn, Andrew GarnhamAndrew Garnham, S Clark, Aaron Petersen, A Roberts, M McKenna
Athletes commonly attempt to enhance performance by training in normoxia but sleeping in hypoxia [live high and train low (LHTL)]. However, chronic hypoxia reduces muscle Na+-K+-ATPase content, whereas fatiguing contractions reduce Na+-K+-ATPase activity, which each may impair performance. We examined whether LHTL and intense exercise would decrease muscle Na+-K+-ATPase activity and whether these effects would be additive and sufficient to impair performance or plasma K+ regulation. Thirteen subjects were randomly assigned to two fitness-matched groups, LHTL (n = 6) or control (Con, n = 7). LHTL slept at simulated moderate altitude (3,000 m, inspired O2 fraction = 15.48%) for 23 nights and lived and trained by day under normoxic conditions in Canberra (altitude ~600 m). Con lived, trained, and slept in normoxia. A standardized incremental exercise test was conducted before and after LHTL. A vastus lateralis muscle biopsy was taken at rest and after exercise, before and after LHTL or Con, and analyzed for maximal Na+-K+-ATPase activity [K+-stimulated 3-O-methylfluorescein phosphatase (3-O-MFPase)] and Na+-K+-ATPase content ([3H]ouabain binding sites). 3-O-MFPase activity was decreased by –2.9 ± 2.6% in LHTL (P < 0.05) and was depressed immediately after exercise (P < 0.05) similarly in Con and LHTL (–13.0 ± 3.2 and –11.8 ± 1.5%, respectively). Plasma K+ concentration during exercise was unchanged by LHTL; [3H]ouabain binding was unchanged with LHTL or exercise. Peak oxygen consumption was reduced in LHTL (P < 0.05) but not in Con, whereas exercise work was unchanged in either group. Thus LHTL had a minor effect on, and incremental exercise reduced, Na+-K+-ATPase activity. However, the small LHTL-induced depression of 3-O-MFPase activity was insufficient to adversely affect either K+ regulation or total work performed.



Journal of applied physiology






186 - 192


American Physiological Society


Bethesda, Md.







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal; C Journal article

Copyright notice

2005, the American Physiological Society