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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1989 Feb;21(1):71-7.

Muscle genetic variants and relationship with performance and trainability.

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  • 1Physical Activity Sciences Laboratory, Laval University, Ste-Foy, Quebec, Canada.


Samples were obtained in a maximum of 295 males and females from the vastus lateralis muscle and proteins fractionated by thin-layer isoelectric focusing. Muscle creatine kinase (CKM) and adenylate kinase (myokinase) (AK1M) were studied for the presence of variants. Six individuals exhibited a CKM variant described here for the first time, for a frequency of the variant gene of 1%. For AK1M, 21 individuals were heterozygotes for an inherited variant protein, an allele frequency of 3.5%. CKM (N = 5) and AK1M (N = 18) variant individuals were paired with control subjects who had the common CKM or AK1M muscle phenotype and compared for several performance indicators. There was no significant difference between the CKM and AK1M common and variant phenotypes for any of the performance measurements. However, the CKM variant subjects tended to be more effective than controls in a 90-min performance test (by about 22%) and had less percent decline over 60 s in force generation (by about 26%). In a subsequent experiment, a few variant subjects could be compared to controls in terms of response to exercise training. Although trends were observed, the CKM and AK1M variant subjects had a response to training generally comparable to that of the nonvariant individuals. While human variation in performance and trainability cannot be accounted for by the genetic polymorphism of the two kinase enzymes, the trends in the data suggest that allelic variation at these two gene loci may be of some functional significance.

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