The influence of muscle fibre recruitment on VO2 kinetics
DiMenna, Fred J.
Date: 17 March 2010
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
PhD in Sport and Health Sciences
When O2 uptake at the lung is used to characterise the oxidative metabolic response to increased contractile activity ( O2 kinetics) in exercising muscle, the O2 profile reflects the combined influence of all involved muscle fibres. Consequently, during high-intensity exercise that mandates activation of fibres with considerable ...
When O2 uptake at the lung is used to characterise the oxidative metabolic response to increased contractile activity ( O2 kinetics) in exercising muscle, the O2 profile reflects the combined influence of all involved muscle fibres. Consequently, during high-intensity exercise that mandates activation of fibres with considerable metabolic diversity (e.g., both principal fibre types), response characteristics specific to discrete segments of the recruited pool cannot be determined. The purpose of this thesis was to identify fibre-type-specific effects of conditions that might impact O2 delivery and/or motor unit recruitment patterns on O2 kinetics by using two models that increase fibre recruitment homogeneity during exercise transitions. In four experiments, subjects initiated high-intensity exercise from a moderate baseline (i.e., performed ‘work-to-work’ transitions; M→H) to target higher-order fibres, and in two experiments, subjects cycled at extremely slow and fast pedal rates to skew recruitment toward slow- and fast-twitch fibres, respectively. At mid-range contraction frequency, O2 kinetics (as indicated by the primary time constant, τp) was slower for M→H compared to unloaded-to-high-intensity transitions (U→H) (e.g., 42 v. 33 s; Ch 4) and this slowing was ~50% greater for M→H in a supine body position (decreased oxygenation; Ch 6). Slower kinetics was also present for U→H cycling at fast compared to slow pedal rates (τp, 48 v. 31 s; Ch 8). Conversely, M→H slowing relative to U→H was absent at extreme cadences (36 v. 31 s and 53 v. 48 s for slow and fast, respectively; Ch 7). After ‘priming’ (increased oxygenation), τp was reduced for U→H after fast-cadence priming only (Ch 8) and for M→H in the supine position (Ch 6), but unaffected for upright cycle and prone knee-extension M→H, for which priming reduced the O2 slow component and delayed-onset fibre activation (as indicated by iEMG; Chs 4 and 5). These results provide evidence in exercising humans that high-order fibres possess innately slow O2 kinetics and are acutely susceptible to interventions that might alter O2 delivery to muscle.
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