1. The respiratory response to inhaled 3% and 6% CO2 was measured in 10 normal subjects after a 3 h acclimatization period to 3% CO2 in an environmental chamber. Control studies were carried out after a 3 h period of breathing air in the chamber.
2. At the end of the acclimatization period studies were carried out during 20 min periods breathing 3% CO2, 6% CO2 and air.
3. At 2-min intervals during the studies measurements were made of tidal volume (Vt), breathing frequency (fR), minute ventilation (V̇e), viscous pulmonary rate of work (Ẇp) and total viscous rate of work across the lungs and apparatus (Ẇt). Blood gas tensions were measured at the end of this period.
4. After acclimatization to 3% CO2 there was a significant shift in the response curves V̇e/Pa,co2 and Ẇt/Pa,co2 such that subjects showed higher Pa,co2 values for given values of V̇e or Ẇt. There was no significant change in the slope of the response curves.
5. No correlation was found between the slope of the response curve after the control period breathing air and the degree of shift of the response curve.
6. There was no difference in respiratory pattern or in pulmonary resistance.
7. Similar results were found in two subjects studied after 24 h acclimatization to 3% CO2 but one subject also showed a significant change in the slope of the V̇e/Pa,co2 curve.