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The Respiratory

System
(AS Revision)

Name:
Tutor:

The Respiratory
Clayesmore School

System
You should have revised the following work
before attempting these questions:

i.Specific lung volumes eg Tidal Volume and


examples of trained/untrained values
ii.The mechanisms of neural, hormonal and
intrinsic control
iii.How chemo, baro, proprio and thermo
receptors affect neural control
iv.Partial pressure as a measure of
concentration and how it explains the
diffusion (movement) of oxygen and carbon
dioxide
v.The mechanics of breathing (muscles and
diaphragm) involved in breathing at rest
and during exercise
vi.The effect of altitude and how it affects
performance
vii.

The transport of CO2 and O2 in the


bloodstream

1.

Exercise results in an increase in the volume of gas exchanged in the lungs.


Define tidal volume and describe how a performer is able to increase lung volumes
during exercise using neural control.
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2.

During endurance activities at altitude there may be a reduction in performance.


Why do the changes in pressure at altitude reduce performance?
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[4]

Clayesmore School

3.

Minute ventilation is defined as the volume of air inspired or expired in one minute.
Sketch a graph below to show the minute ventilation of a swimmer completing a 20minute submaximal swim. Show minute ventilation:

prior to the swim,

during the swim,

for a ten minute recovery period.


1

m
i n u t e
v e n t i la t i o
( L / m
i 1n 0) 0

r e

s t
t im

( m

in

s w i m
t e s )
[4]

4.

The figure below shows oxygen diffusing into the blood stream and being transported
in the blood to the working muscles.

O
O

il la

l i

l u

c a

l v e

t o
2

w o r k in g
m
u s c le s

v ia

e a

r y

Explain how gas exchange is increased at the lungs to ensure that a greater amount of
oxygen is diffused into the blood during exercise.
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[4]

Clayesmore School

r t

5.

During exercise the mechanics of breathing allow for greater volumes of air to be
inhaled per breath.
Describe how the mechanisms of neural control cause changes to the mechanics of
breathing during exercise.
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[5]

6.

During exercise there is an increased supply of oxygen to the working muscles.


Describe the processes of internal respiration which allow more oxygen to be diffused
into the muscle cell during exercise.
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[5]

7.
Explain the effects of altitude on the respiratory system and how these effects impact
on the performance of an endurance athlete performing at altitude.
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[5]

8.

Use the information in the table below to help explain the difficulties that an endurance
performer might experience when performing at altitude without a period of
acclimatisation.
Altitude
(height in metres)

Atmospheric pressure
(mmHg)

Partial pressure oxygen


(mmHg)

Sea level

760

159.2

2,000

596

124.9

4,000

462

96.9
[5]

9.

Give two ways in which oxygen is transported in the blood.

Clayesmore School

Describe the effect of smoking on the transport of oxygen in the blood.


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[5]

10. During prolonged aerobic activity a performer needs to exchange greater amounts of
oxygen and carbon dioxide.
(i)

Describe how the mechanics of breathing change to allow more oxygen to be


inspired during exercise.
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[4]

(ii)

Explain how the performer is able to exchange greater volumes of oxygen and
carbon dioxide between the lungs and the blood during exercise.
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[4]

11.

Evaluate critically the impact of long term aerobic training and lifestyle choices on the
efficiency of the respiratory system.
[10]

12.

The figure below shows a cyclist completing a 10 mile training ride.

(a)

With reference to the mechanics of breathing describe how the cyclist is able to
inspire great amounts of oxygen during the training ride.
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[4]

(b)

Describe how carbon dioxide is diffused from the blood into the alveoli during the
training ride.
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[4]

Clayesmore School

(c)

Give reasons why the cyclists performance would decrease when performing at
altitude.
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[4]

13.

During aerobic performance a large amount of carbon dioxide is produced at the


muscles.
(i)

How is carbon dioxide diffused from the muscle tissue into the blood during
exercise?
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[4]

(ii)

Identify ways in which carbon dioxide is carried in the blood during aerobic
performance.
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[2]

(iii)

Why does an increase in carbon dioxide during exercise increase heart rate?
How does this happen?
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[3]

(iv)

Describe how the mechanics of breathing alter during exercise to expire greater
volumes of carbon dioxide.
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[4]

1.

4 marks max:
Definition: (sub max 1)
1.

The amount of air breathed in/out of the lungs in one breath

Description: (sub max 2)


2.

Movement detected by proprioceptors

3.

Changes in blood pressure via baroreceptors

Clayesmore School

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4.

Emotional influences/lung stretch receptors

5.

Change in blood pH via chemoreceptors/drop in oxygen tension

(Sub-max 2)
6.

Respiratory centre (in medulla) controls breathing

7.

Inspiratory/expiratory centre initiate impulses (apneunistic/pneumotaxic)

8.

Impulses sent via (phrenic/intercostals) nerves

9.

Impulses received by respiratory muscles

10.

This leads to increased rate and depth of breathing


[4]

2.

4 marks max
1.

Less oxygen available in atmosphere at high altitude

2.

The partial pressure of oxygen/PPO2 is reduced/hypoxia

3.

Hyperventilation/increased rate of breathing/dehydration

4.

A reduction in the diffusion gradient occurs

5.

Haemoglobin saturation depends upon the partial pressure of oxygen

6.

Haemoglobin is not fully saturated

7.

Less oxygen is carried in the blood

8.

Therefore less oxygen available for muscles

9.

Fatigue sets in quicker/decrease VO2 Max/ early onset of OBLA


[4]

3.

4 marks max
Prior
1.

Starting value below 20 L/min

2.

Anticipatory rise prior to exercise

During
3.

Rapid rise (60-120L/min)

4.

Slower rise/plateau (60-120L/min)

Recovery
5.

Rapid decrease at end of exercise

6.

Slower decrease towards resting value


(Refer to diagram)
1

M
i n u t e
v e n t i l a 6 t i0 o
( L / m
i n )
4

5
3

2
1
R

e s t

S
T

I M

( m

i n

i m

t e s )
[4]

Clayesmore School

13

4.

4 marks in total
1

There is high partial pressure/concentration of oxygen (PO2) in the lungs/alveoli

There is a low partial pressure/concentration of oxygen (PO2) in the blood

During exercise there is an increased pressure/concentration /diffusion gradient

Faster diffusion will occur

Increased blood supply/temperature

Increased surface area of lungs/respiration rate

Reduced resistance to diffusion


[4]

5.

5 marks: 1 mark per point. Neural control and inspiration must be visited for
max. No requirement to visit expiration.
Neural control - sub max 3
1

(chemo.)
Chemoreceptors detect decrease in O2 or ppO2 or pH or increase in CO2 or
ppCO2 or carbonic acid or acidity or lactic acid
Accept concentration for ppO2

(prioprio.)
Proprioceptors detect movement or motor activity
Do not accept detect activity

(baro.)
Baroreceptors detect increase in pressure

(thermo.)
Thermoreceptors or temperature receptors detect increase in blood temperature

(RCC)
Messages are sent to the respiratory control centre (RCC) or to the inspiratory
centre (in the medulla oblongata)
Do not accept expiratory Centre or ECC

Inspiration
6

(nerve stimulation)
Increased stimulation of external intercostals (EIM) via intercostal nerve or
diaphragm via phrenic nerve

(EIM & diaph)


External intercostal muscles (EIM) or diaohraam contract harder or more (than
at rest)
Accept diaphragm flattens more than at rest
Do not accept inspiratory muscles on own

(SCM et al)
Sternocleidomastoid (SCM) or scalenes or pectoralis minor contract
Do not accept additional muscles recruited - on own

(volume and pressure)


Ribs move up and out more than at rest / volume or area of thoracic cavity
increases more than at rest / pressure in thoracic cavity decreases more (than at
rest)
Accept lungs &/or chest cavity for thoracic cavity
Do not accept lungs increase in size

10

(air in)
More air into lunqs / increased depth of breathing (from rest)
ONLY AWARD IF LINKED WITH MECHANICS OF INSPIRATION (points 6-9)
Do not accept O2 or CO2 or individual gases

Expiration
11

(SRs)
Stretch receptors (in the lungs) stimulate the expiratory centre
Accept Hering-Bruer reflex operates
Do not accept RCC for expiratory centre

12

(active)
Expiration becomes active (rather than passive)

13

(additional muscles)
(these are): internal intercostals / obliaues / transverse abdominus / rectus
abdominus
Do not accept abdominals

14

(volume and pressure)


Ribs move down and in more (than at rest) / volume or area of thoracic cavity
decreases more (than at rest) / pressure in the thoracic cavity increases more
(than at rest)

15

(air out)

Clayesmore School

15

More air out of lungs / increased rate of breathing (from rest)


ONLY AWARD IF LINKED WITH MECHANICS OF EXPIRATION (points 11-14)
Do not accept O2 or CO2 or individual gases
[5]

6.

5 marks
1.

More oxygen is available for diffusion into the muscle cell

2.

(Oxyhaemoglobin) dissociation curve shifts right or accelerated/greater


dissociation of O2 from haemoglobin

3.

Increase in the temperature of the blood or muscle cells

4.

Reduces affinity of oxygen to haemoglobin

5.

More oxygen being used in the muscle cell/decrease in the partial pressure of
oxygen in the muscle

6.

Increased diffusion or concentration gradient (of O2)

7.

More Carbonic Acid or Carbon Dioxide or Lactic Acid in blood

8.

Increased acidity / decrease in pH of the blood / Bohr Effect


[5]

7.

5 marks
Effects of Altitude: Sub max 4 for points 1 9
1.

Decrease in (atmospheric) pressure causes increase in breath frequency or


breathing or ventilation rate

2.

Partial pressure of oxygen or of ppO2 in the (atmospheric) air or the alveoli is low
or reduced or less (than at sea level)

3.

...this reduces or gives low(er) concentration or diffusion gradient of oxygen at


the alveoli or between the alveoli and blood
Do not accept Low concentration gradient on own

4.

Less oxygen diffuses into the capillaries or blood

5.

Less oxygen combines with haemoglobin / haemoglobin not fully saturated (at
lungs) / less oxygen is transported / less oxygen in the blood
Do not accept Less HbO2

Clayesmore School

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6.

...this reduces or gives a low(er) concentration or diffusion gradient of oxygen at


muscle or tissue or between blood and muscle or tissue

7.

Less oxygen diffuses into the muscle (cell) or tissue or myoglobin


Accept Less oxygen gets to working muscles = BOD

8.

Less oxygen available for (aerobic) respiration

9.

Hypoxia or hypoxic conditions at high altitude

Impact on overall performance while at altitude:


10

Performance (of endurance events) deteriorates or decreases at altitude /


performers fatigue faster / accelerated OBLA
Accept Decrease in VO2 max or aerobic capacity / detraining
occurs / increase muscle fatigue
Do not accept Athletes run slower / cant run as fast = TV

11.

Increased altitude can cause hyperventilation which will decrease


performance
[5]

8.

1 mark per point max 5:


Endurance performer at altitude.

% of oxygen within the air remains the same at sea level and altitude;

pp oxygen drops as altitude increases;

diffusion gradient between air and lungs is reduced at altitude;

need to increase rate/depth of breathing at altitude;

at altitude the diffusion gradient between the alveoli and blood is reduced/pp
oxygen in lungs at altitude is lower than pp oxygen in lungs at sea level;

at altitude not as much oxygen moves from alveoli into the blood;

as a result haemoglobin is not fully saturated/reduced oxygen carrying capacity of


the blood;

at altitude not as much oxygen is delivered to the working muscles;

aerobic performance deteriorates.


[5]

9.

2 marks for first part of question, 1 mark per point.


1

(Combines) with or in haemoglobin / as oxyhaemoglobin or HbO2


Do not accept carried in red blood cells = Vg

(Dissolved) in blood plasma

Clayesmore School

19

3 marks for second part of question, 1 mark per point.


3

(CO)
Smoking produces (high levels of) carbon monoxide
Do not accept cigarettes contain carbon monoxide

(gas ex)
less efficient gaseous exchange / decreased diffusion gradient of O2 or between
O2 in alveoli and O2 in blood
Do not accept build up of tar in alveoli = less gaseous
exchange

(affinity)
haemoglobin has a greater affinity for CO than O2 / carbon monoxide has a
greater affinity for haemoglobin than oxygen
Accept Hb for haemoglobin

(less O2)
Less O2 is transported in the blood / Less O2 is absorbed or carried (by the
haemoglobin) / haemoglobin is not fully saturated with O2 / PO2 (PPO2)
decreases in the blood
Do not accept less room for O2 in Hb
[5]

10.

(ii)

(i)

4 marks max:

1.

External Intercostal muscles contract with more force

2.

Diaphragm contracts/flattens

3.

More muscles involved, sternocleidomastoid/pectoralis minor/ trapezius/


scalenes

4.

Lifting Thoracic cavity/rib cage further up and out

5.

Pressure in Thoracic cavity is decreased/volume of thoracic cavity


increased

6.

Increased rate/depth of inspiration

4 marks max:
1.

Gas flows from area of high pressure/concentration to low


pressure/concentration

2.

Partial pressure of oxygen (PO2) is higher/increases in the lungs/alveoli

3.

Partial pressure of oxygen (PO2) is lower/decreases in the blood

4.

Partial pressure of carbon dioxide (PCO2) is lower/decreases in the


lungs/alveoli

5.

Partial pressure of carbon dioxide (PCO2) is higher/increases in the blood

6.

During exercise there is a greater pressure gradient for oxygen/


carbon dioxide/increased diffusion gradient

7.

Increased blood flow to the lungs

8.

Increased surface area of lungs


[8]

11.

10 marks Levels marked question


L3
8-10 marks

L2
5-7 marks

L1
0-4 marks

A comprehensive answer:
detailed knowledge & understanding;
effective analysis/critical evaluation and/or discussion;
clear and consistent practical application of knowledge;
accurate use of technical and specialist vocabulary;
high standard of written communication.
A competent answer:
satisfactory knowledge & understanding;
analysis/critical evaluation and/or discussion attempted with some
success;
some success in practical application of knowledge;
technical and specialist vocabulary used with some accuracy;
written communication is generally fluent with few errors.
A limited answer:
basic knowledge & understanding;
little or no attempt to analyse/evaluate critically and/or discuss;
little or no attempt at practical application of knowledge;
technical and specialist vocabulary used with limited success;
written communication lacks fluency and there will be errors, some of
which may be intrusive.

Indicative content: Candidate responses are likely to include: (Relevant candidate


responses that are not listed should be acknowledged).
Numbered points refer to indicative content or knowledge
Bulleted points refer to development of knowledge
1.

Improvements to the efficiency of the respiratory system (will be seen after a few
weeks of aerobic training.)

2.

Increased efficiency to take in O2 or to supply O2 to muscles

Changes will be due to:

Clayesmore School

21

Respiratory Structures- External Respiration


3.

increased surface area of alveoli

4.

increased elasticity of lungs

5.

increased capillary density around alveoli

greater amount of O2 diffused in to blood

greater amount of CO2 diffused in to alveoli

greater gaseous exchange/ increase pulmonary diffusion

greater saturation of haemoglobin with oxygen

Respiratory Structures- Internal Respiration


6.

increased capillary density around muscle tissue

greater amount of O2 diffused in to muscle cell

greater amount of CO2 diffused in to blood

greater gaseous exchange/ increased muscle and tissue diffusion

increased a-VO2 difference

increased a-VCO2 difference

Improvements to Breathing Mechanisms


7.

strengthens respiratory muscles/ respiratory muscle hypertrophy

diaphragm, intercostals, SCM, scalenes, abdominals

8.

increased efficiency of the mechanics of breathing

9.

increased depth of breathing

10.

decreased breath frequency

reduces or delays respiratory muscle fatigue

Increases in Lung Volumes or Capacities


11.

increased tidal volume during maximal exercise

12.

increased maximal minute ventilation

13.

increased vital capacity

14.

decreased residual volume

15.

increased inspiratory reserve volume

16.

increased expiratory reserve volume

These physiological adaptations would result in:


17.

increased VO2 max

18.

delays OBLA or lactate threshold/ increases endurance capabilities

19.

lifelong involvement in physical activity

Clayesmore School

23

Altitude Training
20.

reduced ppO2 / hypoxic conditions

21.

initial decrease in the efficiency of the respiratory system

22.

BUT increase in efficiency of respiratory system when returning to sea level

23.

Reference to any relevant physiological response e.g increased capillary


density.

Choice to live high or use hypoxic tents but train low

Asthma
24.

aerobic training can trigger EIA

25.

particularly in cold / dry conditions

26.

asthma can inhibit people from taking part in aerobic training

inspiratory muscle training (IMT) or aerobic training can alleviate symptoms


of asthma

Smoking
27.

decreases the efficiency of the respiratory system / decreases respiratory health

28.

decreases the efficiency to supply O2 to muscles

29.

carbon monoxide reduces the amount of O2 absorbed in blood/

30.

Hb has greater affinity to CO than O2

decreased gaseous exchange or diffusion gradient

31.

increases likelihood of respiratory diseases


(e.g. shortness of breath/ coughing/ lung cancer/ emphysema etc.)

32.

damage to respiratory structures

33.

tar coats the airways and inhibits gaseous exchange/tar builds up in lungs

34.

impairs lung function

narrowing of air passages causing increase in respiratory resistance


[10]

12.

(a)

4 marks maximum (inspire)

External intercostals muscles contract with more force

Diaphragm contracts/flattens

More muscles involved/pectoralis


minor/sternocleidomastoid/scalenes/trapezius

Rib cage lifted further up and out

Pressure of thoracic cavity is decreased

Volume of thoracic cavity increased

Clayesmore School

25

(b)

(c)

4 marks maximum (carbon dioxide)


1

Partial pressure of carbon dioxide (PCO2) is higher in the blood

Partial pressure of carbon dioxide (PCO2) is lower in the alveoli

During exercise there is a greater pressure gradient/diffusion gradient

So faster diffusion will occur

(Exercise) results in greater diffusion (capacity) of CO2

Increased surface area for diffusion

Vasodilation within lungs/increased blood supply

4 marks maximum (altitude)


1

The partial pressure of oxygen is low

Less oxygen available in atmosphere at high altitude

Hyperventilation/increased rate of breathing/dehydration

A reduction in the diffusion gradient occurs/low DG

Haemoglobin saturation depends upon the partial pressure of oxygen

Less oxygen is carried in the blood/Haemoglobin is not fully


saturated/hypoxia

Therefore less oxygen available for muscles

Fatigue sets in quicker/decrease in VO max/early onset OBLA

[12]

13.

(i)

4 marks from:

1.

CO2 flows from an area of high pressure to low pressure

2.

Partial pressure of carbon dioxide (PCO2) is lower in the blood/lower in the


blood

3.

During exercise there is a greater concentration gradient/diffusion gradient

4.

So faster diffusion will occur

5.

Haemoglobin is able to pick up carbon dioxide more easily when O2 is


released

7.

(ii)

Greater diffusion capacity for CO2/vasodilation within muscle

Sub max 2
1.

Dissolves in the plasma

2.

Combines with haemoglobin

3.

Forms carbaminohaemoglobin

4.

Dissolves in water/forms carbonic acid/forms H2CO3

5.

In plasma dissociates to hydrogen ions/bicarbonate ions

Clayesmore School

27

(iii)

Sub max 3
6.

Increase in carbon dioxide changes ph/acidity

How (sub max 2 marks)

(iv)

This is detected by chemoreceptors

Information sent to Cardiac control centre/CCC

Under autonomic control/autonomic nervous system (ANS)

10

Impulses sent via cardiac accelerator nerve

11

SA node is stimulated

12

Known as sympathetic control

4 marks from:
1.

This process becomes active

2.

Due to internal intercostals contracting

3.

Abdominal muscles contracting

4.

Diaphram pushed up harder/rib cage pulled in and down

5.

Decrease in volume of thoracic cavity

6.

Causing an increased pressure within thoracic cavity


[13]