Int J Sports Med 2013; 34(12): 1079-1086
DOI: 10.1055/s-0033-1337947
Training & Testing
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Hypoxanthine as a Predictor of Performance in Highly Trained Athletes

J. Zieliński
1   Department of Athletics, Eugeniusz Piasecki University School of Physical Education, Poznań, Poland
B. Krasińska
2   Chair and Clinic of Hypertensiology, Angiology and Internal Diseases, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poznań, Poland
K. Kusy
1   Department of Athletics, Eugeniusz Piasecki University School of Physical Education, Poznań, Poland
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

accepted after revision 12 February 2013

Publication Date:
13 May 2013 (online)


Purine metabolism reflects the exercise-induced muscle adaptations and training status. This study evaluated the utility of plasma hypoxanthine in the prediction of actual sport performance. We studied male athletes: 28 triathletes (21.4±2.9 years), 12 long-distance runners (23.2±1.9 years), 13 middle-distance runners (22.9±1.8 years) and 18 sprinters (22.0±2.7 years). Season-best race times were considered, achieved over standard triathlon, 5 000 m, 1 500 m and 100 m, respectively. Incremental treadmill test was administered to determine maximum and “threshold” oxygen uptake. Resting and post-exercise plasma concentrations of hypoxanthine, xanthine, uric acid and lactate were measured as well as resting erythrocyte hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyltransferase activity. Simple and multiple regression analyses were used to identify significant contributors to the variance in performance. Hypoxanthine considered alone explained more variance in triathletes, long-distance runners, middle-distance runners and sprinters (r 2=0.81, 0.81, 0.88 and 0.78, respectively) than models based on aerobic capacity and lactate (R 2=0.51, 0.37, 0.59 and 0.31, respectively). Combining purine metabolites and cardiorespiratory variables resulted in the best prediction (R 2=0.86, 0.93, 0.93 and 0.91; r=0.93, 0.96, 0.96 and 0.95, respectively). In summary, hypoxanthine is a strong predictor of performance in highly trained athletes and its prediction ability is very high regardless of sport specialization, spanning the continuum from speed-power to endurance disciplines.

  • References

  • 1 Banaszak F. The metabolism of purine and pyrimidine nucleotides in essential hypertension. The assessment of the influence of antihypertensive drugs [in Polish]. Poznań: University School of Physical Education; 1999
  • 2 Beaver WL, Wasserman K, Whipp BJ. A new method for detecting anaerobic threshold by gas exchange. J Appl Physiol 1986; 60: 2020-2027
  • 3 Bianchi GP, Grossi G, Bargossi AM, Fiorella PL, Marchesini G. Can oxypurines plasma levels classify the type of physical exercise?. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 1999; 39: 123-127
  • 4 Bishop D. Physiological predictors of flat-water kayak performance in women. Eur J Appl Physiol 2000; 82: 91-97
  • 5 Bishop D, Lawrence S, Spencer M. Predictors of repeated-sprint ability in elite female hockey players. J Sci Med Sport 2003; 6: 199-209
  • 6 Bragada JA, Santos PJ, Maia JA, Colaço PJ, Lopes VP, Barbosa TM. Longitudinal study in 3,000 m male runners: relationship between performance and selected physiological parameters. J Sports Sci Med 2010; 9: 439-444
  • 7 Craig NP, Norton KI, Bourdon PC, Woolford SM, Stanef T, Squires B, Olds TS, Conyers RA, Walsh CB. Aerobic and anaerobic indices contributing to track endurance cycling performance. Eur J Appl Physiol 1993; 67: 150-158
  • 8 Duffield R, Dawson B, Goodman C. Energy system contribution to 100-m and 200-m track running events. J Sci Med Sport 2004; 7: 302-313
  • 9 Duffield R, Dawson B, Goodman C. Energy system contribution to 400-m and 800-m track running. J Sports Sci 2005; 23: 299-307
  • 10 Duffield R, Dawson B, Goodman C. Energy system contribution to 1500- and 3000-metre track running. J Sports Sci 2005; 23: 993-1002
  • 11 Ferri A, Adamo S, La Torre A, Marzorati M, Bishop DJ, Miserocchi G. Determinants of performance in 1,500-m runners. Eur J Appl Physiol 2012; 112: 3033-3043
  • 12 Gutmann J, Wahlenfeld AW. L-/± lactate determination with lactate dehydrogenase and NAD. In: Bergmayer HU. (ed.). Methods of enzymatic analysis. New York: Academic Press; 1974: 1586-1587
  • 13 Harris DJ, Atkinson G. Update − ethical standards in sport and exercise science research. Int J Sports Med 2011; 32: 819-821
  • 14 Hawley JA, Williams MM, Vickovic MM, Handcock PJ. Muscle power predicts freestyle swimming performance. Br J Sports Med 1992; 26: 151-155
  • 15 Hellsten Y, Richter EA, Kiens B, Bangsbo J. AMP deamination and purine exchange in human skeletal muscle during and after intense exercise. J Physiol 1999; 520: 909-920
  • 16 Hellsten-Westing Y, Balsom PD, Norman B, Sjödin B. The effect of high-intensity training on purine metabolism in man. Acta Physiol Scand 1993; 149: 405-412
  • 17 Hellsten-Westing Y, Norman B, Balsom PD, Sjödin B. Decreased resting levels of adenine nucleotides in human skeletal muscle after high-intensity training. J Appl Physiol 1993; 74: 2523-2528
  • 18 Hellsten-Westing Y, Sollevi A, Sjödin B. Plasma accumulation of hypoxanthine, uric acid and creatine kinase following exhausting runs of differing durations in man. Eur J Appl Physiol 1991; 62: 380-384
  • 19 Ingham SA, Whyte GP, Jones K, Nevill AM. Determinants of 2,000 m rowing ergometer performance in elite rowers. Eur J Appl Physiol 2002; 88: 243-246
  • 20 Izquierdo-Gabarren M, de Txabarri Expósito RG, de Villarreal ESS, Izquierdo M. Physiological factors to predict on traditional rowing performance. Eur J Appl Physiol 2010; 108: 83-93
  • 21 Jacobs RA, Rasmussen P, Siebenmann C, Díaz V, Gassmann M, Pesta D, Gnaiger E, Nordsborg NB, Robach P, Lundby C. Determinants of time trial performance and maximal incremental exercise in highly trained endurance athletes. J Appl Physiol 2011; 111: 1422-1430
  • 22 Kenney WL, Hodgson JL. Variables predictive of performance in elite middle-distance runners. Br J Sports Med 1985; 19: 207-209
  • 23 Ketai LH, Simon RH, Kreit JW, Grum CM. Plasma hypoxanthine and exercise. Am Rev Respir Dis 1987; 136: 98-101
  • 24 Kohrt WM, O’Connor JS, Skinner JS. Longitudinal assessment of responses by triathletes to swimming, cycling, and running. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1989; 21: 569-575
  • 25 Legaz-Arrese A, Munguía-Izquierdo D, Nuviala Nuviala A, Serveto-Galindo O, Moliner Urdiales D, Reverter Masía J. Average VO2max as a function of running performances on different distances. Sci Sports 2007; 22: 43-49
  • 26 Legaz-Arrese A, Serrano Ostáriz E, Jcasajús Mallén JA, Munguía Izquierdo D. The changes in running performance and maximal oxygen uptake after long-term training in elite athletes. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 2005; 45: 435-440
  • 27 Norman B, Sollevi A, Kaijser L, Jansson E. ATP breakdown products in human skeletal muscle during prolonged exercise to exhaustion. Clin Physiol 1987; 7: 503-510
  • 28 Riechman SE, Zoeller RF, Balasekaran G, Goss FL, Robertson RJ. Prediction of 2000 m indoor rowing performance using a 30 s sprint and maximal oxygen uptake. J Sports Sci 2002; 20: 681-687
  • 29 Sahlin K, Katz A, Broberg S. Tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates in human muscle during prolonged exercise. Am J Physiol 1990; 259: C834-C841
  • 30 Sahlin K, Tonkonogi M, Söderlund K. Plasma hypoxanthine and ammonia in humans during prolonged exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol 1999; 80: 417-422
  • 31 Schabort EJ, Killian SC, Gibson ASC, Hawley JA, Noakes TD. Prediction of triathlon race time from laboratory testing in national triathletes. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2000; 32: 844-849
  • 32 Sjödin B, Hellsten-Westing Y. Changes in plasma concentration of hypoxanthine and uric acid in man with short-distance running at various intensities. Int J Sports Med 1990; 11: 493-495
  • 33 Spencer MK, Yan Z, Katz A. Carbohydrate supplementation attenuates IMP accumulation in human muscle during prolonged exercise. Am J Physiol 1991; 261: C71-C76
  • 34 Stathis CG, Carey MF, Hayes A, Garnham AP, Snow RJ. Sprint training reduces urinary purine loss following intense exercise in humans. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 2006; 31: 702-708
  • 35 Stathis CG, Febbraio MA, Carey MF, Snow RJ. Influence of sprint training on human skeletal muscle purine nucleotide metabolism. J Appl Physiol 1994; 76: 1802-1809
  • 36 Stathis CG, Zhao S, Carey MF, Snow RJ. Purine loss after repeated sprint bouts in humans. J Appl Physiol 1999; 87: 2037-2042
  • 37 Stolk JN, De Abreu RA, Boerbooms AM, de Koning DG, de Graaf R, Kerstens PJ, van de Putte LB. Purine enzyme activities in peripheral blood mononuclear cells: comparison of a new non-radiochemical high-performance liquid chromatography procedure and a radiochemical thin-layer chromatography procedure. J Chromatogr B 1995; 666: 33-43
  • 38 Svedenhag J, Sjödin B. Physiological characteristics of elite male runners in and off-season. Can J Appl Sport Sci 1985; 10: 127-133
  • 39 van Ingen Schenau GJ, Bakker FC, de Groot G, de Koning JJ. Supramaximal cycle tests do not detect seasonal progression in performance in groups of elite speed skaters. Eur J Appl Physiol 1992; 64: 292-297
  • 40 Van Schuylenbergh R, Vanden Eynde B, Hespel P. Prediction of sprint triathlon performance from laboratory tests. Eur J Appl Physiol 2004; 91: 94-99
  • 41 van Someren KA, Howatson G. Prediction of flatwater kayaking performance. Int J Sports Physiol Perform 2008; 3: 207-218
  • 42 van Someren KA, Palmer GS. Prediction of 200-m sprint kayaking performance. Can J Appl Physiol 2003; 28: 505-517
  • 43 Weyand PG, Cureton KJ, Conley DS, Sloninger MS, Liu YL. Peak oxygen deficit predicts sprint and middle-distance track performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1994; 26: 1174-1180
  • 44 Wung WE, Howell SB. Simultaneous liquid chromatography of 5-fluorouracil, uridine, hypoxanthine, xanthine, uric acid, allopurinol and oxipurinol in plasma. Clin Chem 1980; 26: 1704-1708
  • 45 Zieliński J, Kusy K. Training-inducted adaptation in purine metabolism in high-level sprinters vs. triathletes. J Appl Physiol 2012; 112: 542-551
  • 46 Zieliński J, Kusy K, Rychlewski T. Effect of training load structure on purine metabolism in middle-distance runners. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2011; 43: 1798-1807
  • 47 Zieliński J, Rychlewski T, Kusy K, Domaszewska K, Laurentowska M. The effect of endurance training on changes in purine metabolism: a longitudinal study of competitive long-distance runners. Eur J Appl Physiol 2009; 106: 867-876