We have previously predicted that the decrease in maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) that accompanies time in microgravity reflects decrements in both convective and diffusive O2 transport to the mitochondria of the contracting myocytes. The aim of this investigation was therefore to quantify the relative changes in convective O2 transport (QO2) and O2 diffusing capacity (DO2) following long duration spaceflight. In 9 astronauts, resting hemoglobin concentration ([Hb]), VO2max, maximal cardiac output (QTmax), and differences in arterial and venous O2 contents (CaO2-CvO2) were obtained retrospectively for International Space Station Increments 19 through 33 (April 2009-November 2012). QO2 and DO2 were calculated from these variables via integration of Fick's Principle of Mass Conservation and Fick's Law of Diffusion. VO2max significantly decreased from pre- to post-flight (-53.9 ± 45.5%, P =0.008). The significant decrease in Q ̇_Tmax (-7.8±9.1%, P =0.05), despite an unchanged [Hb] resulted in a significantly decreased QO2 (-11.4±10.5%, P = 0.02). DO2 significantly decreased from pre- to post-flight by -27.5±24.5% (P =0.04), as did the peak CaO2-CvO2 (-9.2±7.5%, P =0.007). Using linear regression analysis, changes in VO2max were significantly correlated with changes in DO2 (R2=0.47; P = 0.04). These data suggest that space flight decreases both convective and diffusive O2 transport. These results have practical implications for future long-duration space missions and highlight the need to resolve the specific mechanisms underlying these spaceflight-induced changes along the O2 transport pathway.
- Oxygen Uptake
- Copyright © 2016, Journal of Applied Physiology