Untargeted Metabolomics Profiling of an 80.5 km Simulated Treadmill Ultramarathon

Christopher C F Howe, Ahmed Alshehri, David Muggeridge, Alexander B Mullen, Marie Boyd, Owen Spendiff, Hannah J Moir, David G Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)
41 Downloads (Pure)


Metabolomic profiling of nine trained ultramarathon runners completing an 80.5 km self-paced treadmill-based time trial was carried out. Plasma samples were obtained from venous whole blood, collected at rest and on completion of the distance (post-80.5 km). The samples were analyzed by using high-resolution mass spectrometry in combination with both hydrophilic interaction (HILIC) and reversed phase (RP) chromatography. The extracted putatively identified features were modeled using Simca P 14.1 software (Umetrics, Umea, Sweden). A large number of amino acids decreased post-80.5 km and fatty acid metabolism was affected with an increase in the formation of medium-chain unsaturated and partially oxidized fatty acids and conjugates of fatty acids with carnitines. A possible explanation for the complex pattern of medium-chain and oxidized fatty acids formed is that the prolonged exercise provoked the proliferation of peroxisomes. The peroxisomes may provide a readily utilizable form of energy through formation of acetyl carnitine and other acyl carnitines for export to mitochondria in the muscles; and secondly may serve to regulate the levels of oxidized metabolites of long-chain fatty acids. This is the first study to provide evidence of the metabolic profile in response to prolonged ultramarathon running using an untargeted approach. The findings provide an insight to the effects of ultramarathon running on the metabolic specificities and alterations that may demonstrate cardio-protective effects.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2018


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