Can oxypurines plasma levels classify the type of physical exercise?

J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 1999 Jun;39(2):123-7.


Background: A laboratory-based model able to describe muscle energy status during physical exercise and changes in myofibrillar composition in response to training would be desirable. Lactate and ammonia concentrations are not sufficient for a comprehensive knowledge of these systems. All muscle fibres, irrespective of the type, show ATP depletion and IMP accumulation following exhausting muscular exercise with quantitative differences due to the different concentrations of deaminase. We studied the plasma concentration of metabolites of oxypurine cascade to test their reliability to classify different exercises.

Methods: We studied 52 athletes, measuring plasma metabolites at the beginning and at the end of their specific field exercise (cycle pursuers, 8 cases; soccer players, 19; marathon runners, 25). K3EDTA-blood samples were assayed for plasma hypoxanthine, xanthine, and inosine, using an HPLC technique, as well as ammonia and lactate by means of enzymatic methods.

Results and conclusions: Basal oxypurines levels were not different in relation to any specific physical exercise. Post-exercise oxypurines, namely hypoxanthine, were more precise predictors of muscle energy exhaustion than strain intensity or duration. Plasma levels of hypoxanthine may be elevated also in the presence of normal xanthine and uric acid concentrations, due to an exhaustion of the enzymatic pathway, to a reduced activity of xanthine-oxidase or finally to a substrate-dependent inhibition of the process.

MeSH terms

  • Ammonia / blood
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hypoxanthine / blood*
  • Inosine / blood*
  • Lactic Acid / blood
  • Muscle Fatigue
  • Uric Acid / blood
  • Xanthine / blood*


  • Xanthine
  • Uric Acid
  • Hypoxanthine
  • Lactic Acid
  • Inosine
  • Ammonia