Frontiers in Physiology (2018-11-01)

Metabolomic Response to Acute Hypoxic Exercise and Recovery in Adult Males

  • Gareth Davison,
  • Maria Vinaixa,
  • Rose McGovern,
  • Antoni Beltran,
  • Anna Novials,
  • Xavier Correig,
  • Conor McClean

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 9


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Metabolomics is a relatively new “omics” approach used to characterize metabolites in a biological system at baseline and following a diversity of stimuli. However, the metabolomic response to exercise in hypoxia currently remains unknown. To examine this, 24 male participants completed 1 h of exercise at a workload corresponding to 75% of pre-determined O2max in hypoxia (Fio2 = 0.16%), and repeated in normoxia (Fio2 = 0.21%), while pre- and post-exercise and 3 h post-exercise metabolites were analyzed using a LC ESI-qTOF-MS untargeted metabolomics approach in serum samples. Exercise in hypoxia and in normoxia independently increased metabolism as shown by a change in a combination of twenty-two metabolites associated with lipid metabolism (p < 0.05, pre vs. post-exercise), though hypoxia per se did not induce a greater metabolic change when compared with normoxia (p > 0.05). Recovery from exercise in hypoxia independently decreased seventeen metabolites associated with lipid metabolism (p < 0.05, post vs. 3 h post-exercise), compared with twenty-two metabolites in normoxia (p < 0.05, post vs. 3 h post-exercise). Twenty-six metabolites were identified as responders to exercise and recovery (pooled hypoxia and normoxia pre vs. recovery, p < 0.05), including metabolites associated with purine metabolism (adenine, adenosine and hypoxanthine), the amino acid phenylalanine, and several acylcarnitine molecules. Our novel data provides preliminary evidence of subtle metabolic differences to exercise and recovery in hypoxia and normoxia. Specifically, exercise in hypoxia activates metabolic pathways aligned to purine and lipid metabolism, but this effect is not selectively different from exercise in normoxia. We also show that exercise per se can activate pathways associated with lipid, protein and purine nucleotide metabolism.