The effect of age on mechanisms of exercise tolerance: Reduced arteriovenous oxygen difference causes lower oxygen consumption in older people

Amy Fuller, Nduka Okwose, Jadine Scragg, Christopher Eggett, Peter Luke, Alykhan Bandali, Radmila Velicki, Laura Greaves, Guy MacGowan, Djordje G Jakovljevic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To assess the effect of age on mechanisms of exercise tolerance.

METHODS: Prospective observational study recruited 71 healthy individuals divided into two groups according to their age i.e. younger (≤40 years of age, N = 43); and older (≥55 years of age, N = 28). All participants underwent maximal graded cardiopulmonary exercise stress testing using cycle ergometer with simultaneous non-invasive gas-exchange and central haemodynamic measurements. Using the Fick equation, arteriovenous O2 difference was calculated as the ratio between measured O2 consumption and cardiac output.

RESULTS: The mean age of younger and older participants was 26.0 ± 5.7 years, and 65.1 ± 6.6 years respectively. Peak O2 consumption was significantly lower in older compared to the younger age group (18.8 ± 5.2 vs 34.4 ± 9.8 ml/kg/min, p < 0.01). Peak exercise cardiac output and cardiac index were not significantly different between the younger and older age groups (22.7 ± 5.0 vs 22.1 ± 3.9 L/min, p = 0.59; and 12.4 ± 2.9 vs 11.8 ± 1.9 L/min/m2, p = 0.29). Despite demonstrating significantly lower peak heart rate by 33 beats/min (129 ± 18.3 vs 162 ± 19.9, p < 0.01), older participants demonstrated significantly higher stroke volume and stroke volume index compared to the younger age group (173 ± 41.5 vs 142 ± 34.9 mL/min, p < 0.01; and 92.1 ± 18.1 vs 78.3 ± 19.5 mL/m2, p < 0.01). Arteriovenous O2 difference was significantly lower in older compared to younger age group participants (9.01 ± 3.0 vs 15.8 ± 4.3 mlO2/100 mL blood, p < 0.01).

CONCLUSION: Ability of skeletal muscles to extract delivered oxygen represented by reduced arteriovenous O2 difference at peak exercise appears to be the key determinant of exercise tolerance in healthy older individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111340
JournalExperimental Gerontology
Volume149
Early online date8 Apr 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Apr 2021

Keywords

  • Ageing
  • Arteriovenous oxygen difference
  • Exercise testing
  • Exercise tolerance
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Ageing
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology

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