"If we can figure out how the body responds to hypoxia there are implications for cancer, heart, lung and blood disease. It could have enormous reach." - Robert Roach, Director of the Altitude Research Center, School of Medicine, University of Colorado, USA
MitoCom Tyrol participated in the AltitudeOmics 2012 project - scientists were using high-resolution respirometry to study mitochondrial function at 5,200 m in Bolivia, Mt. Chacaltaya.
High altitude study in Bolivia at Mt. Chacaltaya (5,200 m)
Dr. Robert Roach contacted Dr. Erich Gnaiger in April 2012:
"The main body of the project is to combine extensive physiology measurements during and after acclimatization for the first time with gene expression, proteomics, epigenetics and microRNA measurements to describe the molecular mechanisms of human acclimatization to high altitude. ..
Baseline testing was done in Eugene Oregon in mid-May over the course of about a week. Only one muscle biopsy is planned, at rest through the study. Then in July we will be in Bolivia at 17,200 feet. Subjects come in groups of two, have an acute exposure biopsy then another one after 16 days. The elapsed time from start of first subject to end of the last subject is about 5 weeks. .. but we are stuck with no machine to make the measurements on."
In the framework of the K-Regio project MitoCom Tyrol, OROBOROS INSTRUMENTS sent two Oxygraph-2k test units to Oregon in May. The newest Series E has 14 instead of 20 kg, which is of particular advantage for shipment of the instruments from Eugene to Bolivia and taking them up to Mt. Chacaltaya in July.
Availability of the instrument for high-resolution respirometry was essential but not sufficient. Catherine Le, a doctoral student in the MiPNet-Lab of Dr. Adam Chicco (Fort Collins, Colorado) received her training in high-resolution respirometry attending an O2k-Workshop in April/May 2011. Catherine was ready to set up the new O2ks and start the mitochondrial experiments in Eugene. Adam and Erich engaged into a detailed discussion to design the respirometric protocols, based on the latest experience with SUIT protocols developed for functional mitochondrial diagnosis. Catherine trained Austin Hocker, a student of Dr. Hans Dreyer at the University of Oregon, to handle the O2k, and they collaborated successfully in the baseline study at sea level.
"Will you be joining us at any part of the study? It would be great if you did, especially to provide your expertise for this study as well as possible future ones!" Catherine Le.
"I think it would be great to have you come out for the early part of the Chacaltaya studies...perhaps early enough to assist with set-up/calibrations and the initial experiments." Adam Chicco.
Erich Gnaiger joined the AltitudeOmics 2012 team on July 21 in La Paz (3,700 m). Two trips to Mt. Chacaltaya (5,200 m) served for acclimation. Moving finally up and setting up on Mt. Chacaltaya took place on July 24.
This extends the international collabortion of MitoCom Tyrol. A general aim of the K-Regio project MitoCom Tyrol (OROBOROS INSTRUMENTS, WGT Electronics, Medical University of Innsbruck, and Leopold-Franzens-University Innsbruck) is the establishment of a center of competence for mitochondrial research and medicine, to be achieved by continued instrumental development, advancing and testing of protocols for functional mitochondrial diagnosis, and international cooperation. A specific aim of MitoCom Tyrol is the study of the effect of hypoxia and high altitude on mitochondrial function in human skeletal muscle.
Further information on the AltitudeOmics project:
Outfit for the Austrian participation by Sport Spezial, Innsbruck.