Journal of Applied Physiology

Lactate kinetics at the lactate threshold in trained and untrained men

Laurent A. Messonnier, Chi-An W. Emhoff, Jill A. Fattor, Michael A. Horning, Thomas J. Carlson, George A. Brooks


To understand the meaning of the lactate threshold (LT) and to test the hypothesis that endurance training augments lactate kinetics [i.e., rates of appearance and disposal (Ra and Rd, respectively, mg·kg−1·min−1) and metabolic clearance rate (MCR, ml·kg−1·min−1)], we studied six untrained (UT) and six trained (T) subjects during 60-min exercise bouts at power outputs (PO) eliciting the LT. Trained subjects performed two additional exercise bouts at a PO 10% lower (LT-10%), one of which involved a lactate clamp (LC) to match blood lactate concentration ([lactate]b) to that achieved during the LT trial. At LT, lactate Ra was higher in T (24.1 ± 2.7) than in UT (14.6 ± 2.4; P < 0.05) subjects, but Ra was not different between UT and T when relative exercise intensities were matched (UT-LT vs. T-LT-10%, 67% V̇o2max). At LT, MCR in T (62.5 ± 5.0) subjects was 34% higher than in UT (46.5 ± 7.0; P < 0.05), and a reduction in PO resulted in a significant increase in MCR by 46% (LT-10%, 91.5 ± 14.9, P < 0.05). At matched relative exercise intensities (67% V̇o2max), MCR in T subjects was 97% higher than in UT (P < 0.05). During the LC trial, MCR in T subjects was 64% higher than in UT (P < 0.05), in whom %V̇o2max and [lactate]b were similar. We conclude that 1) lactate MCR reaches an apex below the LT, 2) LT corresponds to a limitation in MCR, and 3) endurance training augments capacities for lactate production, disposal and clearance.

  • exercise
  • maximal lactate steady state (MLSS), exertion
  • endurance training
  • lactate oxidation
  • gluconeogenesis from lactate
  • intermediary metabolism
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