Identification of novel serum peptide biomarkers for high-altitude adaptation: a comparative approach

Sci Rep. 2016 May 6:6:25489. doi: 10.1038/srep25489.


We aimed to identify serum biomarkers for screening individuals who could adapt to high-altitude hypoxia at sea level. HHA (high-altitude hypoxia acclimated; n = 48) and HHI (high-altitude hypoxia illness; n = 48) groups were distinguished at high altitude, routine blood tests were performed for both groups at high altitude and at sea level. Serum biomarkers were identified by comparing serum peptidome profiling between HHI and HHA groups collected at sea level. Routine blood tests revealed the concentration of hemoglobin and red blood cells were significantly higher in HHI than in HHA at high altitude. Serum peptidome profiling showed that ten significantly differentially expressed peaks between HHA and HHI at sea level. Three potential serum peptide peaks (m/z values: 1061.91, 1088.33, 4057.63) were further sequence identified as regions of the inter-α trypsin inhibitor heavy chain H4 fragment (ITIH4 347-356), regions of the inter-α trypsin inhibitor heavy chain H1 fragment (ITIH1 205-214), and isoform 1 of fibrinogen α chain precursor (FGA 588-624). Expression of their full proteins was also tested by ELISA in HHA and HHI samples collected at sea level. Our study provided a novel approach for identifying potential biomarkers for screening people at sea level who can adapt to high altitudes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Adult
  • Altitude*
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Peptides / blood*
  • Proteome / analysis
  • Serum / chemistry*
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Peptides
  • Proteome