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Characterizing marathon-induced metabolic changes using 1H-NMR metabolomics

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Tom Clifford, Professor Emma Stevenson



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Although physical activity is a health-promoting, popular global pastime, regular engage-ment in strenuous exercises, such as long-distance endurance running races, has been associated with a variety of detrimental physiological and immunological health effects. The resulting altered physiological state has previously been associated with fluctuations in various key metabolite con-centrations; however, limited literature exists pertaining to the global/holistic metabolic changes that are induced by such. This investigation subsequently aims at elucidating the metabolic changes induced by a marathon by employing an untargeted proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H-NMR) spectrometry metabolomics approach. A principal component analysis (PCA) plot revealed a natural differentiation between pre-and post-marathon metabolic profiles of the 30-athlete cohort, where 17 metabolite fluctuations were deemed to be statistically significant. These included reduced concentrations of various amino acids (AA) along with elevated concentrations of ketone bodies, glycolysis, tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, and AA catabolism intermediates. Moreover, elevated concentrations of creatinine and creatine in the post-marathon group supports previous findings of marathon-induced muscle damage. Collectively, the results of this investigation characterize the strenuous metabolic load induced by a marathon and the consequential regulation of main energy-producing pathways to accommodate this, and a better description of the cause of the physiological changes seen after the completion of a marathon.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bester R, Stander Z, Mason S, Keane KM, Howatson G, Clifford T, Stevenson EJ, Loots DT

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Metabolites

Year: 2021

Volume: 11

Issue: 10

Online publication date: 27/09/2021

Acceptance date: 21/09/2021

Date deposited: 19/07/2022

ISSN (electronic): 2218-1989

Publisher: MDPI AG


DOI: 10.3390/metabo11100656


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