Bioenergetics of the VO 2 slow component between exercise intensity domains

Pflugers Arch. 2020 Oct;472(10):1447-1456. doi: 10.1007/s00424-020-02437-7. Epub 2020 Jul 14.

Abstract

During heavy and severe constant-load exercise, VO2 displays a slow component (VO2sc) typically interpreted as a loss of efficiency of locomotion. In the ongoing debate on the underpinnings of the VO2sc, recent studies suggested that VO2sc could be attributed to a prolonged shift in energetic sources rather than loss of efficiency. We tested the hypothesis that the total cost of cycling, accounting for aerobic and anaerobic energy sources, is affected by time during metabolic transitions in different intensity domains. Eight active men performed 3 constant load trials of 3, 6, and 9 min in the moderate, heavy, and severe domains (i.e., respectively below, between, and above the two ventilatory thresholds). VO2, VO2 of ventilation and lactate accumulation ([La-]) were quantified to calculate the adjusted oxygen cost of exercise (AdjO2Eq, i.e., measured VO2 - VO2 of ventilation + VO2 equivalent of [La-]) for the 0-3, 3-6, and 6-9 time segments at each intensity, and compared by a two-way RM-ANOVA (time × intensity). After the transient phase, AdjO2Eq was unaffected by time in moderate (ml*3 min-1 at 0-3, 0-6, 0-9 min: 2126 ± 939 < 2687 ± 1036, 2731 ± 1035) and heavy (4278 ± 1074 < 5121 ± 1268, 5225 ± 1123) while a significant effect of time was detected in the severe only (5863 ± 1413 < 7061 ± 1516 < 7372 ± 1443). The emergence of the VO2sc was explained by a prolonged shift between aerobic and anaerobic energy sources in heavy (VO2 - VO2 of ventilation: ml*3 min-1 at 0-3, 0-6, 0-9 min: 3769 ± 1128 < 4938 ± 1256, 5091 ± 1123, [La-]: 452 ± 254 < 128 ± 169, 79 ± 135), while a prolonged metabolic shift and a true loss of efficiency explained the emergence of the VO2sc in severe.

Keywords: Excess VO2; Exercise physiology; Loss of efficiency; Oxidative metabolism; Oxygen consumption; VO2 kinetics.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Exercise*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Oxygen Consumption*