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PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e44049. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0044049. Epub 2012 Sep 11.

Interactions among vascular-tone modulators contribute to high altitude pulmonary edema and augmented vasoreactivity in highlanders.

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  • 1Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, Delhi, India.



The interactions among various biomarkers remained unexplored under the stressful environment of high-altitude. Present study evaluated interactions among biomarkers to study susceptibility for high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) in HAPE-patients (HAPE-p) and adaptation in highland natives (HLs); both in comparison to HAPE-free sojourners (HAPE-f).


All the subjects were recruited at 3500 m. We measured clinical parameters, biochemical levels in plasma and gene expression using RNA from blood; analyzed various correlations between and among the clinical parameters, especially arterial oxygen saturation (SaO(2)) and mean arterial pressure (MAP) and biochemical parameters like, asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA), serotonin (5-HT), 8-iso-prostaglandin F2α (8-isoPGF2α), endothelin-1 (ET-1), plasma renin activity (PRA), plasma aldosterone concentration (PAC), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and nitric oxide (NO) in HAPE-p, HAPE-f and HLs. ADMA, 5-HT, 8-isoPGF2α, ET-1 levels, and PAC were significantly higher (p<0.0001, each), whereas SOD activity and NO level were significantly lower in HAPE-p than HAPE-f (p ≤ 0.001). Furthermore, ADMA, 5-HT, 8-isoPGF2α, NO levels and PAC were significantly higher (p<0.0001), whereas ET-1 level significantly (p<0.0001) and SOD activity non-significantly (p>0.05) lower in HLs than HAPE-f. The expression of respective genes differed in the three groups. In the correlations, SaO(2) inversely correlated with ADMA, 5-HT and 8-isoPGF2α and positively with SOD in HAPE-p (p≤0.009). MAP correlated positively with 5-HT and 8-isoPGF2α in HAPE-p and HLs (p ≤ 0.004). A strong positive correlation was observed between ADMA and 5-HT, 5-HT and 8-isoPGF2α (p≤0.001), whereas inverse correlation of SOD with ET-1 in HAPE-p and HLs (p ≤ 0.004), with 5-HT and 8-isoPGF2α in HAPE-p (p = 0.01) and with 5-HT in HLs (p = 0.05).


The interactions among these markers confer enhanced vascular activity in HLs and HAPE in sojourners.

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