In recent years several genetic polymorphisms related to the GH-IGF-I axis were suggested to promote athletic excellence in endurance and power sports. We studied the presence of the C-1245T SNP (rs35767), a nucleotide substitution in the promoter region of the IGF-I gene, and the presence of the 275124A > C SNP (rs1464430), a common nucleotide substitution in the intron region of the IGF-I receptor (IGF-IR) gene in elite long and short-distance swimmers compared with nonphysically active controls. The rare T/T IGF-I polymorphism was found only in 5.3% of the long-distance swimmers, and was not found at all in the short-distance swimmers or among the control group participants. The prevalence of the IGF-I receptor AA genotype was significantly lower in the swimming group as a whole (35%) compared with the control group (46%), in particularly due to reduced frequency of the AA genotype among short-distance swimmers (26%). In contrast to previous reports in elite endurance and power track and field athletes, single nucleotide polymorphisms of the IGF-I and the IGF-IR were not frequent among elite Israeli short- and long-distance swimmers emphasizing the importance of other factors for excellence in swimming. The results also suggest that despite seemingly similar metabolic characteristics different sports disciplines may have different genetic polymorphisms. Thus, combining different disciplines for sports genetic research purposes should be done with extreme caution.
Ben-Zaken and Meckel are with the Genetics and Molecular Biology Laboratory, Zinman College of Physical Education and Sports Sciences at the Wingate Institute, Netanya, Israel. Dror, Nemet, and Eliakim are with the Child Health & Sport Center, Pediatric Dept., Meir Medical Center, Tel Aviv University, Israel. Address author correspondence to Alon Eliakim at email@example.com