Objectives To investigate the anti-hypoxia and anti-oxidation effects of aminophylline on human with acute high-altitude exposure.
Methods Totally 100 young male army members newly recruited from Sichuan province (400 metres above sea level) were enrolled. They were randomly divided into two groups: 50 in aminophylline group (A group) and 50 in control group (C group). A group and C group orally took aminophylline and placebo respectively for 10 days, 7 days before entering Lhasa (3 658 metres above sea level) by air and 3 days after it. Several parameters were measured at three time points: before drug taken, 7 days after drug taken, and 3 days after ascending high altitude. These parameters included serum levels of nitric oxide (NO), superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), hydrogen dioxide (H2O2), lactic acid (LA), as well as arterial oxygen saturation (SO2), arterial oxygen partial pressure (PaO2), and arterial carbon dioxide partial pressure (PaCO2). Statistical analysis was conducted to compare the difference between two groups with Stata 7.0 software system.
Results There were no statistical differences between groups in hypoxia and oxidation indicators before and after drug taken in plain area. Three days after ascending high altitude, the serum levels of SOD, CAT, H2O2, LA, PaCO2 increased in both groups, yet to a much larger degree in C group than A group (P < 0.01); and NO, SO2, PaO2 decreased more markedly in C group (P < 0.05 for NO, P < 0.0001 for SO2 and PaO2).
Conclusions Aminophylline has significant anti-hypoxia and anti-oxidation effects at high altitude.