Short-term hypoxic training increases monocarboxylate transporter 4 and phosphofructokinase activity in Thoroughbreds

Physiol Rep. 2020 Jun;8(11):e14473. doi: 10.14814/phy2.14473.


The aim of this study was to investigate effects of short-term hypoxic training on lactate metabolism in the gluteus medius muscle of Thoroughbreds. Using crossover design (3 months washout), eight Thoroughbred horses were trained for 2 weeks in normoxia (FI O2 = 21%) and hypoxia (FI O2 = 18%) each. They ran at 95% maximal oxygen consumption (V̇O2max ) on a treadmill inclined at 6% for 2 min (3 days/week) measured under normoxia. Before and after each training period, all horses were subjected to an incremental exercise test (IET) under normoxia. Following the 2-week trainings, V̇O2max in IET increased significantly under both oxygen conditions. The exercise duration in IET increased significantly only after hypoxic training. The monocarboxylate transporter (MCT) 1 protein levels remained unchanged after training under both oxygen conditions, whereas MCT4 protein levels increased significantly after training in hypoxia but not after training in normoxia. Phosphofructokinase activity increased significantly only after hypoxic training, whereas cytochrome c oxidase activity increased significantly only after normoxic training. Our results suggest that hypoxic training efficiently enhances glycolytic capacity and levels of the lactate transporter protein MCT4, which facilitates lactate efflux from the skeletal muscle.

Keywords: hypoxia; lactate; monocarboxylate transporter; skeletal muscle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Female
  • Horses
  • Hypoxia / metabolism
  • Male
  • Monocarboxylic Acid Transporters / metabolism*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Phosphofructokinases / metabolism*
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal / methods*
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal / physiology*


  • Monocarboxylic Acid Transporters
  • Phosphofructokinases