Blood lactate concentration during exercise decreases after acclimatization to high altitude, but it is not clear whether there is decreased lactate release from the exercising muscle or if other mechanisms are involved. We measured iliac venous and femoral arterial lactate concentrations and iliac venous blood flow during cycle exercise before and after acclimatization to 4,300 m. During hypoxia, at a given O2 consumption the venous and arterial lactate concentrations, the venous and arterial concentration differences, and the net lactate release were lower after acclimatization than during acute altitude exposure. While breathing O2-enriched air after acclimatization at a given O2 consumption the venous and arterial lactate concentrations and the venous and arterial concentration differences were significantly lower, and the net lactate release tended to be lower than while breathing ambient air at sea level before acclimatization. We conclude that the lower lactate concentration in venous and arterial blood during exercise after altitude acclimatization reflected less net release of lactate by the exercising muscles, and that this likely resulted from the acclimatization process itself rather than the hypoxia per se.
- Copyright © 1989 the American Physiological Society