Health, Exercise, and Sports Sciences ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 5-16-2022


Gastrointestinal complaints are often reported during high altitude ascent (>2500m), though their etiology is unknown. One explanation is hypoxia-mediated intestinal barrier dysfunction. High altitude exposures can result in splanchnic hypoperfusion and hypoxemia causing hypoxic and oxidative stress. Exertion may worsen hypoxia-induced intestinal injury via greater splanchnic hypoperfusion and hypoxemia. We propose that these stressors injure the intestinal barrier leading to increased permeability, bacterial translocation, and local/systemic inflammation which may contribute to gastrointestinal complications or Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). To test this, we investigated the effects of hypoxia on exercise-induced gastrointestinal symptoms and markers of intestinal injury. Next, we determined the effects of a longer hypoxic exposure on circulating markers of intestinal barrier dysfunction and inflammation. We also determined if these responses were related to AMS development. Finally, we evaluated the effects of ibuprofen on markers of intestinal barrier injury, inflammation, and gastrointestinal symptoms at rest and during exercise in hypoxia.


gastrointestinal, permeability, hypoxia, acute mountain sickness

Document Type




Degree Name

Physical Education, Sports and Exercise Science

Level of Degree


Department Name

Health, Exercise, and Sports Sciences

First Committee Member (Chair)

Christine Mermier

Second Committee Member

Fabiano Amorim

Third Committee Member

Michael Deyhle

Fourth Committee Member

Trevor Gillum