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Greater V̇O2peak is correlated with greater skeletal muscle deoxygenation amplitude and hemoglobin concentration within individual muscles during ramp‐incremental cycle exercise


It is axiomatic that greater aerobic fitness (V˙O2peak) derives from enhanced perfusive and diffusive O2 conductances across active muscles. However, it remains unknown how these conductances might be reflected by regional differences in fractional O2 extraction (i.e., deoxy [Hb+Mb] and tissue O2 saturation [StO2]) and diffusive O2 potential (i.e., total[Hb+Mb]) among muscles spatially heterogeneous in blood flow, fiber type, and recruitment (vastus lateralis, VL; rectus femoris, RF). Using quantitative time-resolved near-infrared spectroscopy during ramp cycling in 24 young participants (V˙O2peak range: ~37.4-66.4 mL kg-1 min-1), we tested the hypotheses that (1) deoxy[Hb+Mb] and total[Hb+Mb] at V˙O2peak would be positively correlated with V˙O2peak in both VL and RF muscles; (2) the pattern of deoxygenation (the deoxy[Hb+Mb] slopes) during submaximal exercise would not differ among subjects differing in V˙O2peak Peak deoxy [Hb+Mb] and StO2 correlated with V˙O2peak for both VL (r = 0.44 and -0.51) and RF (r = 0.49 and -0.49), whereas for total[Hb+Mb] this was true only for RF (r = 0.45). Baseline deoxy[Hb+Mb] and StO2 correlated with V˙O2peak only for RF (r = -0.50 and 0.54). In addition, the deoxy[Hb+Mb] slopes were not affected by aerobic fitness. In conclusion, while the pattern of deoxygenation (the deoxy[Hb+Mb] slopes) did not differ between fitness groups the capacity to deoxygenate [Hb+Mb] (index of maximal fractional O2 extraction) correlated significantly with V˙O2peak in both RF and VL muscles. However, only in the RF did total[Hb+Mb] (index of diffusive O2 potential) relate to fitness.

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