Journal of Animal Science and Technology
Korean Society of Animal Science and Technology

Metabolomics reveals potential plateau adaptability by regulating inflammatory response and oxidative stress-related metabolism and energy metabolism pathways in yak

Huang Meizhou2, Zhang Xin1, Yan Wenjun3, Liu Jingjing1, Wang Hui1,*
1Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China.
2The Affiliated Hospital of Southwest Medical University, Luzhou 64600, China.
3Bureau of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine of Tianzhu Tibetan Autonomous County, Tianzhu 733200, China.
*Corresponding Author: Wang Hui, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China. E-mail:

© Copyright 2021 Korean Society of Animal Science and Technology. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Received: Oct 04, 2021; Revised: Nov 14, 2021; Accepted: Nov 30, 2021

Published Online: Dec 10, 2021


Species are facing strong selection pressures to adapt to inhospitable high-altitude environments. Yaks are a valuable species and an iconic symbol of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Extensive studies of high-altitude adaptation have been conducted, but few have focused on metabolism. In the present study, we determined the differences in the serum metabolomics between yaks and the closely related species of low-altitude yellow cattle and dairy cows. We generated high-quality metabolite profiling data for 36 samples derived from the three species, and a clear separation trend was obtained between yaks and the other animals from principal component analysis. In addition, we identified a total of 63 differentially expressed metabolites among the three species. Functional analysis revealed that differentially expressed metabolites were related to the innate immune activation, oxidative stress-related metabolism, and energy metabolism in yaks, which indicates the important roles of metabolites in high-altitude adaptation in yaks. The results provide new insights into the mechanism of adaptation or acclimatization to high-altitude environments in yaks and hypoxia-related diseases in humans.

Keywords: Yak; High-altitude adaptation; Metabolomics; Cattle; Dairy cow