Effects of endurance training intensity on pulmonary diffusing capacity at rest and after maximal aerobic exercise in young athletes

Rim Dridi, Nadia Dridi, Karuppasamy Govindasamy, Nabil Gmada, Ridha Aouadi, Hervé Guénard, Ismail Laher, Ayoub Saeidi, Katsuhiko Suzuki*, Anthony C. Hackney, Hassane Zouhal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This study compared the effects of varying aerobic training programs on pulmonary diffusing capacity (TLCO), pulmonary diffusing capacity for nitric oxide (TLNO), lung capillary blood volume (Vc) and alveolar–capillary membrane diffusing capacity (DM) of gases at rest and just after maximal exercise in young athletes. Sixteen healthy young runners (16–18 years) were randomly assigned to an intense endurance training program (IET, n = 8) or to a moderate endurance training program (MET, n = 8). The training volume was similar in IET and MET but with different work intensities, and each lasted for 8 weeks. Participants performed a maximal graded cycle bicycle ergometer test to measure maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) and maximal aerobic power (MAP) before and after the training programs. Moreover, TLCO, TLNO and Vc were measured during a single breath maneuver. After eight weeks of training, all pulmonary parameters with the exception of alveolar volume (VA) and inspiratory volume (VI) (0.104 < p < 0889; 0.001 < ES < 0.091), measured at rest and at the end of maximal exercise, showed significant group x time interactions (p < 0.05, 0.2 < ES < 4.0). Post hoc analyses revealed significant pre-to-post decreases for maximal heart rates (p < 0.0001, ES = 3.1) and improvements for VO2max (p = 0.006, ES = 2.22) in the IET group. Moreover, post hoc analyses revealed significant pre-to-post improvements in the IET for DM, TLNO, TLCO and Vc (0.001 < p < 0.0022; 2.68 < ES < 6.45). In addition, there were increases in Vc at rest, VO2max, TLNO and DM in the IET but not in the MET participants after eight weeks of training with varying exercise intensities. Our findings suggest that the intensity of training may represent the most important factor in increasing pulmonary vascular function in young athletes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12359
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec 1


  • Aerobic training
  • Alveolar volume
  • Alveolar–capillary membrane
  • NO/CO transfer
  • Pulmonary capillary blood volume

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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