Effect of induced erythrocythemia on hypoxia tolerance during physical exercise

R. J. Robertson, R. Gilcher, K. F. Metz, G. S. Skrinar, T. G. Allison, H. T. Bahnson, R. A. Abbott, R. Becker, J. E. Falkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


The effect of induced erythrocythemia on hypoxia tolerance during physical exercise was determined for five male mountain climbers. Treadmill testing was performed under four conditions: 1) prereinfusion, normoxia (Pre-N); 2) prereinfusion, hypoxia (Pre-H); 3) postreinfusion, normoxia (Post-N); and 4) postreinfusion, hypoxia (Post-H). An altitude of 3,566.2 m was simulated by having subjects breathe a gas mixture of 13.5% O2-86.5% N2 at normal barometric pressure. Tests were administered immediately before and 24 h after autologous transfusion of 750 ml of red blood cells. Hematocrit increased from 43.3% at prereinfusion to 54.8% at postreinfusion. Hemoglobin concentration increased from 13.80 g.100 ml-1 at prereinfusion to 17.63 g.100 ml-1 at postreinfusion. Maximal O2 uptake (V̇O2[max], 1.min-1) increased (P < 0.05) by 12.8% (3.28 to 3.70) from Pre-N to Post-N and 13.0% (2.62 to 2.96) from Pre-H to Post-H. Treadmill performance time (s) increased (P < 0.05) by 15.8% (793 to 918) from Pre-N to Post-N and 8.9% (687 to 748) from Pre-H to Post-H. V̇O2[max] decreased by 20.1% from Pre-N to Pre-H and by 9.8% from Pre-N to Post-H. Treadmill time decreased by 13.4% from Pre-N to Pre-H and 5.7% from Pre-N to Post-H. The calculated change in hypoxia tolerance following reinfusion indicated that physiological altitude was improved by 463.6 m. It was concluded that induced erythrocythemia increased hypoxia tolerance during physical exercise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)490-495
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology Respiratory Environmental and Exercise Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 25 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of induced erythrocythemia on hypoxia tolerance during physical exercise'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this