High altitude exposure alters gene expression levels of DNA repair enzymes, and modulates fatty acid metabolism by SIRT4 induction in human skeletal muscle

Zoltan Acs, Zoltan Bori, Masaki Takeda, Peter Osvath, Istvan Berkes, Albert W. Taylor, Hu Yang, Zsolt Radak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)


We hypothesized that high altitude exposure and physical activity associated with the attack to Mt Everest could alter mRNA levels of DNA repair and metabolic enzymes and cause oxidative stress-related challenges in human skeletal muscle. Therefore, we have tested eight male mountaineers (25-40 years old) before and after five weeks of exposure to high altitude, which included attacks to peaks above 8000. m. Data gained from biopsy samples from vastus lateralis revealed increased mRNA levels of both cytosolic and mitochondrial superoxide dismutase. On the other hand 8-oxoguanine DNA glycosylase (OGG1) mRNA levels tended to decrease while Ku70 mRNA levels and SIRT6 decreased with altitude exposure. The levels of SIRT1 and SIRT3 mRNA did not change significantly. However, SIRT4 mRNA level increased significantly, which could indicate decreases in fatty acid metabolism, since SIRT4 is one of the important regulators of this process. Within the limitations of this human study, data suggest that combined effects of high altitude exposure and physical activity climbing to Mt. Everest, could jeopardize the integrity of the particular chromosome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-37
Number of pages5
JournalRespiratory Physiology and Neurobiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2014



  • DNA damage
  • High altitude
  • Oxidative stress
  • Sirtuins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine

Cite this