The Ace I Allele Is Associated With Higher Endurance Efficiency Of Athletes

Por: A. Falus, I. Berkes, I. Gyore, I. Harbula, J. Pucsok e M. Dekany.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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Genetic markers that are exclusively associated with elite athletes have not yet been identified. Potential candidate
genes might be found in the renin-angiotensin system, which plays a key role in the regulation of cardiovascular
physiology. We have studied the polymorphisms of the ACE (angiotensin I converting enzyme) in endurance athletes
and in a well trained control group.

The study population comprised 39 endurance athletes. MVVex (expected maximal voluntary ventilation), VE
(expiratory minute ventilation) and VO2max (relative aerobic capacity) were determined at rest and during the exhaustive
treadmill or rowing step test. In the second part of our study the long-term efficiency of 12 male and 7 female rowers
was investigated. All the subjects were genotyped for ACE I/D polymorphism. The exhaustive treadmill or rowing step
test was used to measure the physiological parameters by the Jäger system. The mechanism of breathing was
accomplished by Jäger Flowscreen-type spirometer at rest. Genomic DNA was isolated from white blood cells
following a standard protocol [1]. A c2 test was used to compare the ACE ID allele and genotype frequencies between
athletes. Differences in age, body weight, body height and physiological parameters among the groups were tested with
Student-type t probe.

The frequency of the ACE I allele was significantly higher (p<0.037) in the group showing higher intensity of breathing
metabolism than in the group showing lower intensity of breathing metabolism. Age, body mass index (BMI) and
VO2max were similar in these two groups. In the excellent endurance athletes group (elite rowers) the ACE D allele
frequency was almost significantly higher than compared with the unsuccessful athletes (p=0.054). The age, BMI and
VO2max were similar in these two groups.

Discussion / Conclusions
The ACE I allele is a genetic marker that might be associated with higher endurance efficiency and the adaptation level
of the cardiovascular system. In the examination of the genotype besides the measuring of acute physical activity
(VO2max, VE/MVVex) it is worth taking into consideration the long-term efficiency (number of medals) of endurance
performance also, in the interest of understanding of the more accurate relationship.

[1]. Miller SA, Dykes DD, Polesky HF. (1998) Nucleic Acids Res., 16(3):1215.

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