oxygen debt

Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

The physiological state that exists in a normally aerobic animal when insufficient oxygen is available for metabolic requirements (e.g. during a period of strenuous physical activity). To meet the body's increased demand for energy, pyruvate is converted anaerobically (i.e. in the absence of oxygen) to lactic acid, which requires oxygen for its breakdown and accumulates in the tissues. When oxygen is available again lactic acid is oxidized in the liver, thus repaying the debt.

Subjects: Medicine and Health — Biological Sciences.

Reference entries

See all related reference entries in Oxford Index »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.