Impact-induced muscle damage and urinary pterins in professional rugby: 7,8-dihydroneopterin oxidation by myoglobin

A. Lindsay, J. Healy, W. Mills, J. Lewis, N. Gill, N. Draper, S. P. Gieseg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Muscle damage caused through impacts in rugby union is known to increase oxidative stress and inflammation. Pterins have been used clinically as markers of oxidative stress, inflammation, and neurotransmitter synthesis. This study investigates the release of myoglobin from muscle tissue due to force-related impacts and how it is related to the subsequent oxidation of 7,8-dihydroneopterin to specific pterins. Effects of iron and myoglobin on 7,8-dihydroneopterin oxidation were examined in vitro via strong cation-exchange high-performanceliquid chromatography (SCX-HPLC) analysis of neopterin, xanthopterin, and 7,8-dihydroxanthopterin. Urine samples were collected from 25 professional rugby players pre and post four games and analyzed for myoglobin by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and 7,8-dihydroneopterin oxidation products by HPLC. Iron and myoglobin oxidized 7,8-dihydroneopterin to neopterin, xanthopterin, and 7,8-dihydroxanthopterin at concentrations at or above 10μM and 50μg/mL, respectively. All four games showed significant increases in myoglobin, neopterin, total neopterin, biopterin, and total biopterin, which correlated between each variable (P<0.05). Myoglobin and iron facilitate 7,8-dihydroneopterin oxidation to neopterin and xanthopterin. In vivo delocalization of myoglobin due to muscle damage may contribute to oxidative stress and inflammation after rugby. Increased concentrations of biopterin and total biopterin may indicate production of nitric oxide and monoamine neurotransmitters in response to the physical stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-337
Number of pages9
JournalScandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • Iron
  • Muscle damage
  • Myoglobin
  • Neopterin
  • Oxidative stress
  • Rugby


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