An insight into the changes in human plasma proteome on adaptation to hypobaric hypoxia

PLoS One. 2013 Jul 2;8(7):e67548. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0067548. Print 2013.


Adaptation to hypobaric hypoxia is required by animals and human in several physiological and pathological situations. Hypobaric hypoxia is a pathophysiological condition triggering redox status disturbances of cell organization leading, via oxidative stress, to proteins, lipids, and DNA damage. Identifying the molecular variables playing key roles in this process would be of paramount importance to shed light on the mechanisms known to counteract the negative effects of oxygen lack. To obtain a molecular signature, changes in the plasma proteome were studied by using proteomic approach. To enrich the low-abundance proteins in human plasma, two highly abundant proteins, albumin and IgG, were first removed. By comparing the plasma proteins of high altitude natives with those of a normal control group, several proteins with a significant alteration were found. The up-regulated proteins were identified as vitamin D-binding protein, hemopexin, alpha-1-antitrypsin, haptoglobin β-chain, apolipoprotein A1, transthyretin and hemoglobin beta chain. The down-regulated proteins were transferrin, complement C3, serum amyloid, complement component 4A and plasma retinol binding protein. Among these proteins, the alterations of transthyretin and transferrin were further confirmed by ELISA and Western blotting analysis. Since all the up- and down- regulated proteins identified above are well-known inflammation inhibitors and play a positive anti-inflammatory role, these results show that there is some adaptive mechanism that sustains the inflammation balance in high altitude natives exposed to hypobaric hypoxia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / genetics*
  • Adult
  • Altitude
  • Chemical Precipitation
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / blood
  • Hypoxia / genetics*
  • Hypoxia / physiopathology
  • Immunoglobulin G / chemistry
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Inflammation / prevention & control
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Annotation
  • Proteome / genetics*
  • Proteome / metabolism
  • Serum Albumin / chemistry
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization


  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Proteome
  • Serum Albumin

Grant support

Financial support for this study is provided by a grant from TC/321/Task –145 (YA)/DIPAS/2008, Defence Research Development Organization (DRDO), Ministry of Defence, Government of India. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.