The energy metabolism was evaluated in gastrocnemius muscle from 3-month-old rats subjected to either mild or severe 4-week intermittent normobaric hypoxia. Furthermore, 4-week treatment with CNS-acting drugs, namely, alpha-adrenergic (delta-yohimbine), vasodilator (papaverine, pinacidil), or oxygen-increasing (almitrine) agents was performed. The muscular concentration of the following metabolites was evaluated: glycogen, glucose, glucose 6-phosphate, pyruvate, lactate, lactate-to-pyruvate ratio; citrate, alpha-ketoglutarate, succinate, malate; aspartate, glutamate, alanine; ammonia; ATP, ADP, AMP, creatine phosphate. Furthermore the Vmax of the following muscular enzymes was evaluated: hexokinase, phosphofructokinase, pyruvate kinase, lactate dehydrogenase; citrate synthase, malate dehydrogenase; total NADH cytochrome c reductase; cytochrome oxidase. The adaptation to chronic intermittent normobaric mild or severe hypoxia induced alterations of the components in the anaerobic glycolytic pathway [as supported by the increased activity of lactate dehydrogenase and/or hexokinase, resulting in the decreased glycolytic substrate concentration consistent with the increased lactate production and lactate-to-pyruvate ratio] and in the mitochondrial mechanism [as supported by the decreased activity of malate dehydrogenase and/or citrate synthase resulting in the decreased concentration of some key components in the tricarboxylic acid cycle]. The effect of the concomitant pharmacological treatment suggests that the action of CNS-acting drugs could be also related to their direct influence on the muscular biochemical mechanisms linked to energy transduction.