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Open AccessArticle

Proteomics-Based Detection of Immune Dysfunction in an Elite Adventure Athlete Trekking Across the Antarctica

1
North Carolina Research Campus, Appalachian State University, Kannapolis, NC 28081, USA
2
ProteiQ Biosciences GmbH, 10967 Berlin, Germany
3
Standard Process Nutrition Innovation, Kannapolis, NC 28081, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Proteomes 2020, 8(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/proteomes8010004
Received: 11 February 2020 / Revised: 29 February 2020 / Accepted: 1 March 2020 / Published: 3 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Proteomics)
Proteomics monitoring of an elite adventure athlete (age 33 years) was conducted over a 28-week period that culminated in the successful, solo, unassisted, and unsupported two month trek across the Antarctica (1500 km). Training distress was monitored weekly using a 19-item, validated training distress scale (TDS). Weekly dried blood spot (DBS) specimens were collected via fingerprick blood drops onto standard blood spot cards. DBS proteins were measured with nano-electrospray ionization liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (nanoLC-MS/MS) in data-independent acquisition (DIA) mode, and 712 proteins were identified and quantified. The 28-week period was divided into time segments based on TDS scores, and a contrast analysis between weeks five and eight (low TDS) and between weeks 20 and 23 (high TDS, last month of Antarctica trek) showed that 31 proteins (n = 20 immune related) were upregulated and 35 (n = 17 immune related) were downregulated. Protein–protein interaction (PPI) networks supported a dichotomous immune response. Gene ontology (GO) biological process terms for the upregulated immune proteins showed an increase in regulation of the immune system process, especially inflammation, complement activation, and leukocyte mediated immunity. At the same time, GO terms for the downregulated immune-related proteins indicated a decrease in several aspects of the overall immune system process including neutrophil degranulation and the antimicrobial humoral response. These proteomics data support a dysfunctional immune response in an elite adventure athlete during a sustained period of mental and physical distress while trekking solo across the Antarctica. View Full-Text
Keywords: blood proteins; exercise; immune system; complement; neutrophils; apolipoproteins; nutrition blood proteins; exercise; immune system; complement; neutrophils; apolipoproteins; nutrition
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Nieman, D.C.; Groen, A.J.; Pugachev, A.; Simonson, A.J.; Polley, K.; James, K.; El-Khodor, B.F.; Varadharaj, S.; Hernández-Armenta, C. Proteomics-Based Detection of Immune Dysfunction in an Elite Adventure Athlete Trekking Across the Antarctica. Proteomes 2020, 8, 4.

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