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Regulation of blood volume in lowlanders exposed to high altitude

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Humans ascending to high altitude (HA) experience a reduction in arterial oxyhemoglobin saturation and, as a result, arterial O2 content ([Formula: see text]). As HA exposure extends, this reduction in [Formula: see text] is counteracted by an increase in arterial hemoglobin concentration. Initially, hemoconcentration is exclusively related to a reduction in plasma volume (PV), whereas after several weeks a progressive expansion in total red blood cell volume (RCV) contributes, although often to a modest extent. Since the decrease in PV is more rapid and usually more pronounced than the expansion in RCV, at least during the first weeks of exposure, a reduction in circulating blood volume is common at HA. Although the regulation of hematological responses to HA has been investigated for decades, it remains incompletely understood. This is not only related to the large number of mechanisms that could be involved and the complexity of their interplay but also to the difficulty of conducting comprehensive experiments in the often secluded HA environment. In this review, we present our understanding of the kinetics, the mechanisms and the physiological relevance of the HA-induced reduction in PV and expansion in RCV.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985)
Volume123
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)957-966
Number of pages10
ISSN8750-7587
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017

    Research areas

  • Journal Article, Review

ID: 52608302