Table_4_Cellular Aspects of Muscle Specialization Demonstrate Genotype – Phenotype Interaction Effects in Athletes.docx (20.96 kB)

Table_4_Cellular Aspects of Muscle Specialization Demonstrate Genotype – Phenotype Interaction Effects in Athletes.docx

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posted on 08.05.2019, 11:56 by Martin Flück, Manuel Kramer, Daniel P. Fitze, Stephanie Kasper, Martino V. Franchi, Paola Valdivieso

Gene polymorphisms are associated with athletic phenotypes relying on maximal or continued power production and affect the specialization of skeletal muscle composition with endurance or strength training of untrained subjects. We tested whether prominent polymorphisms in genes for angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE), tenascin-C (TNC), and actinin-3 (ACTN3) are associated with the differentiation of cellular hallmarks of muscle metabolism and contraction in high level athletes.


Muscle biopsies were collected from m. vastus lateralis of three distinct phenotypes; endurance athletes (n = 29), power athletes (n = 17), and untrained non-athletes (n = 63). Metabolism-, and contraction-related cellular parameters (such as capillary-to-fiber ratio, capillary length density, volume densities of mitochondria and intramyocellular lipid, fiber mean cross sectional area (MCSA) and volume densities of myofibrils) and the volume densities of sarcoplasma were analyzed by quantitative electron microscopy of the biopsies. Gene polymorphisms of ACE (I/D (insertion/deletion), rs1799752), TNC (A/T, rs2104772), and ACTN3 (C/T, rs1815739) were determined using high-resolution melting polymerase chain reaction (HRM-PCR). Genotype distribution was assessed using Chi2 tests. Genotype and phenotype effects were analyzed by univariate or multivariate analysis of variance and post hoc test of Fisher. P-values below 0.05 were considered statistically significant.


The athletes demonstrated the specialization of metabolism- and contraction-related cellular parameters. Differences in cellular parameters could be identified for genotypes rs1799752 and rs2104772, and localized post hoc when taking the interaction with the phenotype into account. Between endurance and power athletes these concerned effects on capillary length density for rs1799752 and rs2104772, fiber type distribution and volume densities of myofibrils (rs1799752), and MSCA (rs2104772). Endurance athletes carrying the I-allele of rs1799752 demonstrated 50%-higher volume densities of mitochondria and sarcoplasma, when power athletes that carried only the D-allele showed the highest fiber MCSAs and a lower percentage of slow type muscle fibers.


ACE and tenascin-C gene polymorphisms are associated with differences in cellular aspects of muscle metabolism and contraction in specifically-trained high level athletes. Quantitative differences in muscle fiber type distribution and composition, and capillarization in knee extensor muscle explain, in part, identified associations of the insertion/deletion genotypes of ACE (rs1799752) with endurance- and power-type Sports.