Microvascular and oxidative stress responses to acute high-altitude exposure in prematurely born adults


Abstract Premature birth is associated with endothelial and mitochondrial dysfunction, and chronic oxidative stress, which might impair the physiological responses to acute altitude exposure. We assessed peripheral and oxidative stress responses to acute high-altitude exposure in preterm adults compared to term born controls. Post-occlusive skeletal muscle microvascular reactivity and oxidative capacity from the muscle oxygen consumption recovery rate constant ( k ) were determined by Near-Infrared Spectroscopy in the vastus lateralis of seventeen preterm and seventeen term born adults. Measurements were performed at sea-level and within 1 h of arrival at high-altitude (3375 m). Plasma markers of pro/antioxidant balance were assessed in both conditions. Upon acute altitude exposure, compared to sea-level, preterm participants exhibited a lower reperfusion rate (7 ± 31% vs. 30 ± 30%, p = 0.046) at microvascular level, but higher k (6 ± 32% vs. −15 ± 21%, p = 0.039), than their term born peers. The altitude-induced increases in plasma advanced oxidation protein products and catalase were higher (35 ± 61% vs. −13 ± 48% and 67 ± 64% vs. 15 ± 61%, p = 0.034 and p = 0.010, respectively) and in xanthine oxidase were lower (29 ± 82% vs. 159 ± 162%, p = 0.030) in preterm compared to term born adults. In conclusion, the blunted microvascular responsiveness, larger increases in oxidative stress and skeletal muscle oxidative capacity may compromise altitude acclimatization in healthy adults born preterm.

Scientific Reports