Inter-individual differences in control of alveolar capillary blood volume in exercise and hypoxia

Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2014 Jan 1;190:96-104. doi: 10.1016/j.resp.2013.08.021. Epub 2013 Sep 17.


We compared by non-invasive technique the adaptive response of alveolar capillary network to edemagenic conditions (exercise and high altitude [HA, PIO2 107mmHg] in subjects with different resting sea level (SL) capillary blood volume (normalized to alveolar volume, Vc/Va): Group 1 (N=10, Vc/Va=16.1±6.8ml/L- mean±SD) and Group 2 (N=10, Vc/Va=25±7.7). In Group 1 Vc/Va remained unchanged in HA at rest and increased during exercise at SL (26.3±8.6) and HA (28.75±10.2); in Group 2 Vc/Va significantly decreased in HA (19±6) and did not increase in exercise at SL and HA. We hypothesize that Group2 exerts a tight control on Vc/Va being more exposed to the risk of lung edema due to inborn greater microvascular permeability. Conversely, Group 1 appears more resistant to lung edema given the large capillary recruitment in the most edemagenic condition. The 4-fold increase in frequency dependence of respiratory resistance in Group2 in HA stems for greater proneness for lung water perturbation compared to Group 1.

Keywords: High altitude pulmonary edema; Lung diffusion; Lung ultrasound; Microvascular filtration; Respiratory impedance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Capillaries / physiology
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / physiopathology*
  • Individuality*
  • Male
  • Pulmonary Alveoli / blood supply*
  • Pulmonary Circulation / physiology*
  • Pulmonary Diffusing Capacity / physiology
  • Pulmonary Gas Exchange / physiology*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Respiratory Mechanics / physiology
  • Time Factors
  • Ultrasonography