Operation Everest II: Metabolic and hormonal responses to incremental exercise to exhaustion

P. M. Young, J. R. Sutton, H. J. Green, J. T. Reeves, P. B. Rock, C. S. Houston, A. Cymerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The reasons for the reduced exercise capacities observed at high altitudes are not completely known. Substrate availability or accumulations of lactate and ammonium could have significant roles. As part of Operation Everest II, peak oxygen uptakes were determined in five normal male volunteers with use of progressively increasing cycling work loads at ambient barometric pressures of 760, 380, and 282 Torr. Decrements from sea level (SL) to 380 and 282 Torr occurred in peak power output (19 and 47%), time to exhaustion (19 and 48%), and oxygen uptake (41 and 61%), respectively. Arterial saturations after exhaustive exercise were decreased to 63% at 380 Torr and 39% at 282 Torr. At 380 and 282 Torr, postexercise plasma concentrations of glucose and free fatty acids were not increased, whereas plasma glycerol concentrations were decreased relative to SL (145 ± 24 μM at 380 Torr and 77 ± 10 μM at 282 Torr vs. 213 ± 24 μM at SL). Preexercise plasma insulin concentrations were elevated at both 380 and 282 Torr (87 ± 16 pM at 380 Torr and 85 ± 18 pM at 282 Torr vs. 41 ± 30 pM at SL). In general, postexercise concentrations of plasma catecholamines were decreased at altitude compared with SL. Preexercise lactate and ammonium concentrations were not different at any simulated altitude. From these data neither substrate availability nor metabolic product accumulation limited exercise capacity at extreme simulated altitude.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2574-2579
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1992


  • altitude
  • blood lactate
  • epinephrine
  • exercise endurance
  • insulin
  • norepinephrine
  • plasma ammonium
  • plasma catecholamines


Dive into the research topics of 'Operation Everest II: Metabolic and hormonal responses to incremental exercise to exhaustion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this