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This review of ventilatory acclimatization to altitude/hypoxia (VAH) emphasizes the widely differing timescales that VAH is considered to encompass. The review concludes: (1) that early (24-48h) VAH is unlikely to arise as a reaction to the respiratory alkalosis that is normally associated with exposure to hypoxia; (2) that changes in peripheral chemoreflex function may be sufficiently rapid to explain early VAH; (3) that alterations in gene expression induced by hypoxia through the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) signalling pathway may underlie a major component of VAH; and (4) that compensatory adjustments to acid-base balance in response to the initial respiratory alkalosis may have more significance for the slower changes observed later in VAH.

Original publication




Journal article


Respir Physiol Neurobiol

Publication Date





237 - 242


Acclimatization, Acid-Base Equilibrium, Altitude, Animals, Carbon Dioxide, Chemoreceptor Cells, Humans, Hypoxia, Oxygen, Peripheral Nervous System, Pulmonary Ventilation, Reflex, Time Factors