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Increase in bicarbonate stores with exercise


We previously described bicarbonate exchange dynamics in humans at rest and during exercise using a three-compartment model. In the present study we tested the effect of certain assumptions of this model on the prediction of the change in exchangeable bicarbonate with the increased metabolic rate of exercise. We compared this prediction with a measurement of CO2 retention after exercise onset determined from gas exchange data. The change in tissue bicarbonate stores was estimated from differences in the kinetics of adjustment of VO2 and VCO2, and this was added to an estimate of the changes in venous blood gas stores to estimate the total change in bicarbonate. When the commonly held assumption that endogenous CO2 production, thought to occur in a rapidly equilibrating peripheral compartment at rest, was also applied to the exercise condition, the three-compartment bicarbonate model predicted an unphysiologically large increase in bicarbonate stores (700 mmol, or over 15 L). In contrast, the 'gas exchange' approach predicted a relatively small increase in bicarbonate (26 mmol), consistent with other reports. The incompatibility of these findings with the assumption about the source of endogenous CO2 production in the bicarbonate model requires that the underlying physiological correlates of the three compartments change from rest to exercise.

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