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Exercise in Merino sheep dash the relationships between work intensity, endurance, anaerobic threshold and glucose metabolism

Pethick, D.W.ORCID: 0000-0002-3255-7677, Miller, C.B. and Harman, N.G. (1991) Exercise in Merino sheep dash the relationships between work intensity, endurance, anaerobic threshold and glucose metabolism. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research, 42 (4). pp. 599-620.

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The effect of exercise intensity on (i) the ability of sheep to sustain exercise and (ii) glucose metabolism was investigated in fed non-pregnant adult Merino ewes. Five animals were prepared with cannulae to study the splanchnic tissues using the arteriovenous difference technique either at rest or during 8 levels of exercise: 3, 5, 7 and 9 km h-1 at either 0° or 9° incline. The anaerobic threshold, determined by elevation of blood lactate concentration or lactate/pyruvate ratio, occurred at a work rate of about 6-10 watts/kg body wt (7 km h-1 on 0° incline, 3 km h-1 on 9° incline). Only exercise well in excess of the anaerobic threshold resulted in ewes showing fatigue. Fatigue was not associated with carbohydrate depletion or lacticacidosis. Changes in the partial pressure of CO2 and the pH of blood indicated a marked respiratory alkalosis that was related to the severity of exercise, suggesting that thermoregulation may have been an important component of fatigue. Splanchnic blood flow declined when the intensity of exercise exceeded the anaerobic threshold; however, this did not compromise splanchnic function as assessed by oxygen and metabolite uptake. During exercise below the anaerobic threshold euglycemia was maintained while a pronounced hyperglycemia, that became more severe as the work rate increased, was found for exercise above the anaerobic threshold. The release of glucose by the liver increased significantly at all work rates and markedly so after the anaerobic threshold, such that the resultant hyperglycemia was consistent with an exaggerated hepatic glucose release due to ‘feed forward’ control. The contribution of lactate and glycerol to gluconeogenesis, assuming complete conversion, remained constant at 18-25% except at the highest work load where the contribution significantly declined to 9%. The decline was due to (i) saturation of hepatic lactate uptake and (ii) a failure for glycerol concentration and so uptake to increase beyond a work rate of 22 W kg-1. The requirement for gluconeogenic end products of digestion for animals grazed under extensive conditions would be 9-30% greater than for animals not exercising, depending upon the speed and inclination of exercise.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary Studies
Publisher: CSIRO
Copyright: © 1991 CSIRO.
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