Interspersed normoxia during live high, train low interventions reverses an early reduction in muscle Na+, K +ATPase activity in well-trained athletes

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2006 Oct;98(3):299-309. doi: 10.1007/s00421-006-0280-z. Epub 2006 Aug 25.


Hypoxia and exercise each modulate muscle Na(+), K(+)ATPase activity. We investigated the effects on muscle Na(+), K(+)ATPase activity of only 5 nights of live high, train low hypoxia (LHTL), 20 nights consecutive (LHTLc) versus intermittent LHTL (LHTLi), and acute sprint exercise. Thirty-three athletes were assigned to control (CON, n = 11), 20-nights LHTLc (n = 12) or 20-nights LHTLi (4 x 5-nights LHTL interspersed with 2-nights CON, n = 10) groups. LHTLc and LHTLi slept at a simulated altitude of 2,650 m (F(I)O(2) 0.1627) and lived and trained by day under normoxic conditions; CON lived, trained, and slept in normoxia. A quadriceps muscle biopsy was taken at rest and immediately after standardised sprint exercise, before (Pre) and after 5-nights (d5) and 20-nights (Post) LHTL interventions and analysed for Na(+), K(+)ATPase maximal activity (3-O-MFPase) and content ([(3)H]-ouabain binding). After only 5-nights LHTLc, muscle 3-O-MFPase activity declined by 2% (P < 0.05). In LHTLc, 3-O-MFPase activity remained below Pre after 20 nights. In contrast, in LHTLi, this small initial decrease was reversed after 20 nights, with restoration of 3-O-MFPase activity to Pre-intervention levels. Plasma [K(+)] was unaltered by any LHTL. After acute sprint exercise 3-O-MFPase activity was reduced (12.9 +/- 4.0%, P < 0.05), but [(3)H]-ouabain binding was unchanged. In conclusion, maximal Na(+), K(+)ATPase activity declined after only 5-nights LHTL, but the inclusion of additional interspersed normoxic nights reversed this effect, despite athletes receiving the same amount of hypoxic exposure. There were no effects of consecutive or intermittent nightly LHTL on the acute decrease in Na(+), K(+)ATPase activity with sprint exercise effects or on plasma [K(+)] during exercise.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Altitude*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / metabolism
  • Hypoxia / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / enzymology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Ouabain / metabolism
  • Physical Endurance*
  • Potassium / blood
  • Sodium-Potassium-Exchanging ATPase / metabolism*
  • Tritium / metabolism


  • Tritium
  • Ouabain
  • Sodium-Potassium-Exchanging ATPase
  • Potassium