Current researches demonstrated that completing the Ultra Trail Gobi (UTG) could lead to severe muscle damage. Our study was designed to analysis the muscle damage and amino acid changes reacted to a 400 km ultra-endurance race in experienced runners. Peripheral blood samples from 16 male athletes (mean age 40.3 ± 7.0 years, mean finish time 121.2 ± 21.8 hours), taken 48 h before and immediately after completing the Ultra Trail Gobi Race (UTG), were analyzed for 39 amino acids, 15 steroid hormones and 4 muscle damage factors. In all participants, the 4 biomarkers for muscle damage, i.e., creatine kinase (CK), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) increased significantly after the race, whose mean post-race values were 13.7-, 7.3-, 4.7- and 1.5-fold higher than the pre-race values, respectively. 5 amino acids, i.e., alanine, valine, proline, ornithine and citrulline showed significant decrease, whose mean values decreased by 40.4 ± 18.7%, 38.9 ± 9.3%, 48.1 ± 15.2%, 44.8 ± 15.1% and 23.4 ± 30.8% after the race, respectively. Our study revealed that progressive decline in amino acids contents may further contribute to the factors increasing the muscle damage during the UTG.
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