Fat oxidation rates and cardiorespiratory responses during exercise in different subject populations with post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection: a comparison with normative percentile values

Front Physiol. 2023 Dec 8;14:1310319. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2023.1310319. eCollection 2023.


Introduction: Post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC) presents a spectrum of symptoms following acute COVID-19, with exercise intolerance being a prevalent manifestation likely linked to disrupted oxygen metabolism and mitochondrial function. This study aims to assess maximal fat oxidation (MFO) and exercise intensity at MFO (FATmax) in distinct PASC subject groups and compare these findings with normative data. Methods: Eight male subjects with PASC were involved in this study. The participants were divided into two groups: “endurance-trained” subjects (V˙O2max > 55 mL/min/kg) and “recreationally active” subjects (V˙O2max < 55 mL/min/kg). Each subject performed a graded exercise test until maximal oxygen consumption (V˙O2max) to measure fat oxidation. Subsequently, MFO was assessed, and FATmax was calculated as the ratio between V˙O2 at MFO and V˙O2 max. Results: The MFO and FATmax of “endurance-trained” subjects were 0.85, 0.89, 0.71, and 0.42 and 68%, 69%, 64%, and 53%, respectively. Three out of four subjects showed both MFO and FATmax values placed over the 80th percentile of normative data. The MFO and FATmax of “recreationally active” subjects were 0.34, 0.27, 0.35, and 0.38 and 47%, 39%, 43%, and 41%, respectively. All MFO and FATmax values of those subjects placed below the 20th percentile or between the 20th and 40th percentile. Discussion: Significant differences in MFO and FATmax values between ‘endurance-trained’ and “recreationally active” subjects suggest that specific endurance training, rather than simply an active lifestyle, may provide protective effects against alterations in mitochondrial function during exercise in subjects with PASC.

PMID:38156072 | PMC:PMC10753187 | DOI:10.3389/fphys.2023.1310319