Tryptophan recovery index as a new biomarker for fitness
Keywords:tryptophan, kynurenine, kynurenic acid, kynurenine pathway, exercise
The maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) and maximal power output (Pmax) are commonly used parameters to evaluate the endurance fitness status. A connection between exercise and the kynurenine pathway (KP), which describes the metabolism of unused tryptophan, has already been reported. However, a potential association of the KP with endurance fitness levels remains unknown. In this study, adolescent competitive athletes performed an exhaustive incremental exercise test. Blood samples were taken before, directly after, and 30 minutes after the end of exercise. Tryptophan (Trp), kynurenine (Kyn) and kynurenic acid (KA) serum levels were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Forty-four male and 27 female athletes (median age: 16 years) were recruited. During exhaustive exercise tests, Trp initially declined and then increased 30 minutes after discontinuing exercise. Similar findings were observed for Kyn, whereas KA levels behaved inversely. After incremental exhaustive exercise the relative increase of Trp concentrations, termed the tryptophan-recovery-index (TRI), showed a highly significant positive correlation with VO2max and Pmax (r=0.468 and 0.491, p-values <0.001). There was a significant gender-difference with higher levels of all metabolites at all measured time points in male participants. In the present study, a highly significant correlation was found between the TRI and the maximal oxygen uptake in well-trained athletes. The implementation of TRI can therefore be suggested as a biomarker for physical fitness.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Alexander Pichler, Andreas Meinitzer, Dietmar Enko, Peter Schober, Georg Singer, Christoph Castellani, Markus Herrmann, Sandra J. Holasek, Holger Till, Jana Maria Windhaber
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