Hypoxic peripheral chemoreflex stimulation-dependent cardiorespiratory coupling is decreased in swimmer athletes

David C. Andrade, Alexis Arce-Álvarez, Camila Salazar-Ardiles, Camilo Toledo, Juan Guerrero-Henriquez, Cristian Alvarez, Manuel Vasquez-Muñoz, Mikel Izquierdo, Gregoire P. Millet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Swimmer athletes showed a decreased ventilatory response and reduced sympathetic activation during peripheral hypoxic chemoreflex stimulation. Based on these observations, we hypothesized that swimmers develop a diminished cardiorespiratory coupling due to their decreased hypoxic peripheral response. To resolve this hypothesis, we conducted a study using coherence time-varying analysis to assess the cardiorespiratory coupling in swimmer athletes. We recruited 12 trained swimmers and 12 control subjects for our research. We employed wavelet time-varying spectral coherence analysis to examine the relationship between the respiratory frequency (Rf) and the heart rate (HR) time series during normoxia and acute chemoreflex activation induced by five consecutive inhalations of 100% N2. Comparing swimmers to control subjects, we observed a significant reduction in the hypoxic ventilatory responses to N2 in swimmers (0.012 ± 0.001 vs. 0.015 ± 0.001 ΔVE/ΔVO2, and 0.365 ± 0.266 vs. 1.430 ± 0.961 ΔVE/ΔVCO2/ΔSpO2, both p < 0.001, swimmers vs. control, respectively). Furthermore, the coherence at the LF cutoff during hypoxia was significantly lower in swimmers compared to control subjects (20.118 ± 3.502 vs. 24.935 ± 3.832 area under curve [AUC], p < 0.012, respectively). Our findings strongly indicate that due to their diminished chemoreflex control, swimmers exhibited a substantial decrease in cardiorespiratory coupling during hypoxic stimulation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere15890
JournalPhysiological Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


  • chemoreflex
  • coherence
  • hypoxia
  • swimmers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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