Reactive oxygen and nitrogen species have been reported to be increased due to hypobaric hypoxia. It was hypothesized that lowlanders are more susceptible to protein nitration, lipid peroxidation and DNA damage at high altitude than highlanders and formation of these biomarkers may have strong correlation with oxygen consumption. Male volunteers were randomly selected and categorized into 3 groups, i.e. lowlanders at sea level (LL-SL, n=10), lowlanders at an altitude of 4560 m (LL-HA, n=10) and highlanders (HAN, n=10). Volunteers performed maximal aerobic exercise. Resting and post-exercise blood samples were taken at sea level and high altitude. Both resting and maximum oxygen consumption showed positive correlation with stress markers. LL-HA showed increased 3-nitrotyrosine and lipid hydroperoxide than LL-SL at rest. 3-Nitrotyrosine and lipid hydroperoxide increased after exercise in 3 groups, but percentage increase was higher in HAN than LL-SL and LL-HA. LL-SL and HAN showed significant DNA damage after exercise. Results indicate that resting oxygen consumption is positively correlated with nitrosative and oxidative stress markers irrespective of environmental condition and adaptation levels. Lowlanders have shown higher susceptibility to hypoxic insult than highlanders at rest, but when subjected to exercise test, they showed better tolerance to hypoxia than highlanders.
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