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Aim:

To study the relationship between the ACTN3 R577X polymorphism and oxygen uptake (VO2) before and after exercise training.

Methods:

Police recruits (N = 206, 25 ± 4 y) with RR (n = 75), RX (n = 97), and XX (n = 33) genotypes were selected. After baseline measures, they underwent 18 wk of running endurance training. Peak VO2 was obtained by cardiopulmonary exercise testing.

Results:

Baseline body weight was not different among genotypes. At baseline, XX individuals displayed higher VO2 at anaerobic threshold, respiratory compensation point, and exercise peak than did RR individuals (P < .003). Endurance training significantly increased VO2 at anaerobic threshold, respiratory compensation point, and exercise peak (P < 2 × 10−6), but the differences between XX and RR were no longer observed. Only relative peak VO2 exercise remained higher in XX than in RR genotype (P = .04). In contrast, the increase in relative peak VO2 was greater in RR than in XX individuals (12% vs 6%; P = .02).

Conclusion:

ACTN3 R577X polymorphism is associated with VO2. XX individuals have greater aerobic capacity. Endurance training eliminates differences in peak VO2 between XX and RR individuals. These findings suggest a ceiling-effect phenomenon, and, perhaps, trained individuals may not constitute an adequate population to explain associations between phenotypic variability and gene variations.

Silva, Bolani, Biagi, Lemos, da Silva, Krieger, Dias, and Pereira are with the Laboratory of Genetics and Molecular Cardiology, and P. de Oliveira, G. Alves, and Negrão, the Unit of Cardiac Rehabilitation and Exercise Physiology, University of São Paulo Medical School, São Paulo, Brazil. C. Alves and E. de Oliveira are with the School of Physical Education and Sport, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.

Address author correspondence to Rodrigo Dias at diasrg99@yahoo.com.br.