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Ventilatory acclimatization to hypoxia is associated with an increase in ventilation under conditions of acute hyperoxia (VEhyperoxia) and an increase in acute hypoxic ventilatory response (AHVR). This study compares 48-h exposures to isocapnic hypoxia (protocol I) with 48-h exposures to poikilocapnic hypoxia (protocol P) in 10 subjects to assess the importance of hypocapnic alkalosis in generating the changes observed in ventilatory acclimatization to hypoxia. During both hypoxic exposures, end-tidal PO2 was maintained at 60 Torr, with end-tidal PCO2 held at the subject's prehypoxic level (protocol I) or uncontrolled (protocol P). VEhyperoxia and AHVR were assessed regularly throughout the exposures. VEhyperoxia (P < 0.001, ANOVA) and AHVR (P < 0.001) increased during the hypoxic exposures, with no significant differences between protocols I and P. The increase in VEhyperoxia was associated with an increase in slope of the ventilation-end-tidal PCO2 response (P < 0.001) with no significant change in intercept. These results suggest that changes in respiratory control early in ventilatory acclimatization to hypoxia result from the effects of hypoxia per se and not the alkalosis normally accompanying hypoxia.

Original publication




Journal article


J Appl Physiol (1985)

Publication Date





2125 - 2134


Acclimatization, Acid-Base Equilibrium, Adolescent, Adult, Alkalosis, Carbon Dioxide, Female, Humans, Hydrogen-Ion Concentration, Hyperventilation, Hypoxia, Male, Respiratory Mechanics, Time Factors