Ventilatory and gas exchange responses to cycling with sinusoidally varying pedal rate.
Transient responses of ventilation (V̇e) to limb motion can exhibit predictive characteristics. In response to a change in limb motion, a rapid change in V̇e is commonly observed with characteristics different than during a change in workload. This rapid change has been attributed to a feed-forward or adaptive response. Rate sensitivity was explored as a specific hypothesis to explain predictive V̇e responses to limb motion. A simple model assuming an additive feed-forward summation of V̇e proportional to the rate of change of limb motion was studied. This model was able to successfully account for the adaptive phase correction observed during human sinusoidal changes in limb motion. Adaptation of rate sensitivity might also explain the reduction of the fast component of V̇e responses previously reported following sudden exercise termination. Adaptation of the fast component of V̇e response could occur by reduction of rate sensitivity. Rate sensitivity of limb motion was predicted by the model to reduce the phase delay between limb motion and V̇e response without changing the steady-state response to exercise load. In this way, V̇e can respond more quickly to an exercise change without interfering with overall feedback control. The asymmetry between responses to an incremental and decremental ramp change in exercise can also be accounted for by the proposed model. Rate sensitivity leads to predicted behavior, which resembles responses observed in exercise tied to expiratory reserve volume.