Metabolomic Response to Acute Hypoxic Exercise and Recovery in Adult Males

Gareth Davison, Maria Vinaxia, Rose McGovern, Antoni Beltran, Anna Novials, Xavier Correig, CM McClean

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22 Citations (Scopus)
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Metabolomics is a relatively new ‘omics’ approach used to characterise 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 one hour 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 hrs post-exercise metabolites were analysed 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 hrs post-exercise), compared with twenty-two metabolites in normoxia (p<0.05, post vs. 3 hrs 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.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1682
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 26 Nov 2018


  • Metabolomics
  • Exercise
  • hypoxia
  • Metabolism
  • purine nucleotide


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