Metabolic basis to Sherpa altitude adaptation

Nepalese Sherpas have a physiology that uses oxygen more efficiently than those used to the atmosphere at sea level. The biochemical tests on the fresh muscle showed that the Sherpas’ tissue was able to make much better use of oxygen by limiting the amount of body fat burned (i.e. low levels of fatty acid oxidation) and maximising the glucose consumption. Furthermore, the study revealed that the Sherpas carried the glucose-favouring variant of the metabolic gene, PPARA, almost none of the lowland volunteers did. In essence, this paper provides a previously unknown cellular mechanism for high-altitude adaptation among the Sherpas. [Full Text: ]


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