Endocrine

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 472–480 | Cite as

High serum zinc and serum testosterone levels were associated with excessive erythrocytosis in men at high altitudes

  • Gustavo F. Gonzales
  • Vilma Tapia
  • Manuel Gasco
  • Julio Rubio
  • Cynthia Gonzales-Castañeda
Original Article

Abstract

Chronic mountain sickness (CMS), a lack of adaptation to altitude characterized by excessive erythrocytosis (EE), is a health problem associated with life at high altitude. The erythropoietic process is regulated by both erythropoietin and testosterone. Zinc (Zn) is known to be related with testosterone and hemoglobin levels; meanwhile, nitric oxide was also associated with adaptation to high altitude. The aim of this study was to determine the relationship of hemoglobin and CMS score with serum levels of zinc, total testosterone (TT), calculated free testosterone (cFT), bioavailable testosterone (BAT), hemoglobin, and nitric oxide in men at high altitude with or without EE. Men residing in Lima (150 m) and Cerro de Pasco (4,340 m), Peru, were divided into three groups: (1) low altitude, (2) high altitude without EE (hemoglobin < 21 g/dl), and (3) high altitude with EE (hemoglobin ≥ 21 g/dl). Adjusted multivariable regression models showed that serum testosterone (total or free) and Zn levels were independently correlated with increased hemoglobin levels. Similarly, hemoglobin was positively related with signs/symptoms of CMS; however, both increased the serum Zn and the nitric oxide levels correlated with reduced risk for signs/symptoms of CMS. In conclusion, higher serum testosterone levels and Zn levels were associated with EE, and low scores of signs/symptoms of CMS were associated with higher Zn and nitric oxide levels.

Keywords

Testosterone Zinc Nitric oxide High altitude Chronic mountain sickness signs/symptoms Excessive erythrocytosis 

Abbreviations

BMI

Body mass index

HA

High altitude

LA

Low altitude

Hb

Hemoglobin

EE

Excessive erythrocytosis

CMS

Chronic mountain sickness

TT

Total testosterone

cFT

Calculated free testosterone

BAT

Bioavailable testosterone

Epo

Erythropoietin

NO

Nitric oxide

Zn

Zinc

ALAD

Delta-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase

HIF

Hypoxia-inducible factor

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gustavo F. Gonzales
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Vilma Tapia
    • 2
  • Manuel Gasco
    • 1
  • Julio Rubio
    • 1
  • Cynthia Gonzales-Castañeda
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Endocrinology and Reproduction, Faculty of Sciences and PhilosophyUniversidad Peruana Cayetano HerediaLimaPeru
  2. 2.Instituto de Investigaciones de la AlturaUniversidad Peruana Cayetano HerediaLimaPeru
  3. 3.Universidad Peruana Cayetano HerediaLimaPeru

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