Modifications in exercise tolerance have been reported in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patients. Also specific mechanisms have been speculated related to intermittent hypoxia (IH), hypertension, obesity or metabolic disturbance associated to OSA may play a significant role in exercise limitation. In order to eliminate these confounding factors we aimed to evaluate the effects of IH exposure during 14 nights in healthy subjects on exercise capacity, cardio-respiratory response and substrate oxidation during exercise.
12 healthy subjects (BMI: 21.8 0.5kg.m-2) were exposed to repetitive sequences of hypoxia — re-oxygenation during sleep in a hypoxic tent with appropriate cyclic re-oxygenation (rate: 30 desaturations.h-1). Maximal and sub-maximal exercise tests were performed before and after exposure in order to investigate cardiorespiratory variables and substrate oxidation parameters.
IH did not modify maximal exercise parameters (VO2, heart rate, power output) nor ventilatory threshold (VTh). But this was achieved with a significant PETCO2 reduction and a VE/VCO2 increase during both maximal (Pre IH vs Post IH at VTh and Max, p<0.05) and sub-maximal (Pre vs Post at 30 % and 60 % Pmax, p<0.05) exercise tests, indicating hyperventilation. At the 1st min recovery after submaximal exercise test, diastolic arterial blood pressure (DBP) was higher after IH exposure (Pre: 60±3 vs Post: 78±2mmHg) in favour of a delayed DBP recovery following acute exercise. During sub-maximal exercise, subjects reached maximal lipid oxidation at higher power output and presented a decreased blood lactate at the same percentage of relative power after IH exposure.
Exposure to 14 days of nocturnal IH is associated with an increased ventilatory response to subsequent exercise at sea level. Furthermore, delayed DBP recovery after exercise is in favor of early IH-induced cardiovascular modifications. This observation related to muscular exercise adaptations confirms the efficacy of the model in reproducing early cardiovascular alterations occurring in OSAS. Moreover, this model induces metabolic adaptations as soon as 14 nights of exposure.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.