Intermittent Hypoxia Exposure Helps to Restore the Reduced Hemoglobin Concentration During Intense Exercise Training in Trained Swimmers

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Weng, Xiquan, Lin, Jieru, Yuanhong, Yu, Lin, Baoxuan, Huang, Weiwei, Tin, Hiu Tung, Li, Jia, Yan, Xu ORCID: 0000-0001-8547-4210, Lin, Wentao and Chen, Hao (2021) Intermittent Hypoxia Exposure Helps to Restore the Reduced Hemoglobin Concentration During Intense Exercise Training in Trained Swimmers. Frontiers in Physiology, 12. ISSN 1664-042X


In prolonged intense exercise training, the training load of athletes may be reduced once their hemoglobin concentrations ([Hb]s) are decreased dramatically. We previously reported that intermittent hypoxia exposure (IHE) could be used to alleviate the decrease of [Hb] and help to maintain the training load in rats. To further explore the feasibility of applying IHE intervention to athletes during prolonged intense exercise training, 6 trained swimmers were recruited to conduct a 4-week IHE intervention at the intervals after their [Hb] dropped for 10% or more during their training season. IHE intervention lasted 1 h and took place once a day and five times a week. Hematological and hormonal parameters, including [Hb], red blood cells (RBC), hematocrit (Hct), reticulocytes, serum erythropoietin (EPO), testosterone (T) and cortisol (C) were examined. After the IHE intervention was launched, [Hb], RBC and Hct of the subjects were increased progressively with their maximum levels (P < 0.01) showing at the third or fourth week, respectively. An increase in reticulocyte count (P < 0.01) suggests that IHE intervention promotes erythropoiesis to increase [Hb]. Besides, serum level of EPO, the hormone known to stimulate erythropoiesis, was overall higher than that before the IHE intervention, although it was statistically insignificant. Furthermore, the serum level of T, another hormone known to stimulate erythropoiesis, was increased progressively with the maximum level showing at the fourth week. Collectively, this study further confirms that IHE intervention may be used as a new strategy to prevent intense exercise training-induced reductions in [Hb].

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Item type Article
DOI 10.3389/fphys.2021.736108
Official URL
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 3208 Medical physiology
Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 4207 Sports science and exercise
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Health and Sport
Current > Division/Research > College of Health and Biomedicine
Keywords hypoxia, IHE, erythropoietin, EPO, testosterone, hemoglobin
Citations in Scopus 0 - View on Scopus
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