Post-exercise parasympathetic reactivation and sensibility to hypoxia


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A Master's thesis.
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Master (thesis) (master)
Post-exercise parasympathetic reactivation and sensibility to hypoxia
Leuzinger M.
Millet G.
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Université de Lausanne, Faculté de biologie et médecine
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Exposure to hypoxia leads to several reactions of the organism, which try to compensate the reduced oxygen level in the blood. Acute response is characterized by an increase in pulmonary ventilation (Hypoxia Ventilatory Response, HVR) and in cardiac output (cardiac response to hypoxia).
Heart rate (HR) at rest and during exercise is higher at high altitude than at sea level, whereas HRmax is lower.
These cardiac adaptations are partially explained by an increased sympathetic stimulation associated with a reduced parasympathetic tone (12). The precise mechanisms of HRmax decline in acute hypoxia are however still to be identified, although several hypothesis have been suggested, such as a direct effect of hypoxia on the electrophysiological properties, an influence of skeletal maximal VO2 or a modulation of the autonomic nervous system (8).
Some authors have reported that endurance trained athletes present an increased sensitivity to hypoxia shown by a large reduction in VO2max and an important decrease in arterial saturation. (9,11, 13)
A hypoxia test can assess the sensibility of chemoreceptors to the reduction of oxygen by calculating hypoxic ventilatory and cardiac responses, knowing that low sensibility is correlated with poor acclimatization. Two parameters results from the differences in ventilation (and heart rate) divided by the difference in the arterial oxygen saturation between normoxia and hypoxia (18).
The hypothesis tested by this study is that parasympathetic reactivation after moderate effort in hypoxic condition can be used as a marker of individual sensibility to hypoxia.
Parasympathetic reactivation is a marker of vagal tone that predict endurance capacity and aerobic fitness (2,7).
This study uses data obtained from two groups of athletes participating into two larger studies about adaptation to hypoxia.
One group is composed of elite athletes (Swiss ski mountaineering team), the other one of mid-level athletes (ski mountaineering amateurs). The particularity of this target population is that they often train at high altitude, and therefore could show a better response to hypoxia than athleltes of other disciplines.
The athletes performed a submaximal exercise (6min run at 9 km/h, flat) followed by 10 min of seated rest either in an hypoxic chamber (simulated altitude of 3000m) or in normoxic conditions.
During the resting phase parasympathetic reactivation was assessed by beat-to-beat HR measurements.A test of tolerance to altitude was also performed.
Parasympathetic reactivation, assessed by the calculation of the root mean square of successive differences in the R-R intervals (RMSSD)(4), is compared to individual responses at altitude, in order to appreciate the correlation between the two phenomena.
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17/06/2014 13:40
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20/08/2019 16:49
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