Health, Exercise, and Sports Sciences ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 8-1-2023


Environmental hypoxia, as a result of decreased barometric pressure upon ascent to high altitudes (>2500m) presents increased physiological demands compared to low altitudes. Competitive athletes, mountaineers, wildland firefighters, military personnel, miners, and outdoor enthusiasts commonly participate in, or are exposed to, forms of exercise or physical labor at moderate to high altitudes. Interestingly, however, the majority of research on intermittent hypoxic exposure is centered around hematological markers and the skeletal muscle cellular responses to exercise in hypoxic environments remain largely unknown. Two processes that are integral for maintenance of cellular health in skeletal muscle include autophagy and angiogenesis. We propose that exercise or physical labor in hypoxic environments may catalyze these processes, contributing to beneficial physiological and health adaptations. To test whether hypoxic exercise may upregulate these processes, we compared the skeletal muscle autophagic and angiogenic responses to 60-minutes of moderate intensity exercise in normoxia, hypobaric hypoxia, and duration matched seated passive rest in hypobaric hypoxia.


hypoxia, high altitude, exercise, autophagy, angiogenesis

Document Type


Degree Name

Physical Education, Sports and Exercise Science

Level of Degree


Department Name

Health, Exercise, and Sports Sciences

First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Christine Mermier

Second Committee Member

Dr. Michael Deyhle

Third Committee Member

Dr. James McCormick

Fourth Committee Member

Dr. Kusrt Escobar

Available for download on Friday, August 01, 2025