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Br J Sports Med. 2011 Feb;45(2):95-100. doi: 10.1136/bjsm.2009.060285. Epub 2009 Jul 16.

Androgen receptor gene polymorphisms lean mass and performance in young men.

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  • 1Department of Physical Education, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Campus Universitario de Tafi ra s/n, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 35017, Spain.


The exon-1 of the androgen receptor (AR) gene contains two repeat length polymorphisms which modify either the amount of AR protein inside the cell (GGN(n), polyglycine) or its transcriptional activity (CAG(n), polyglutamine). Shorter CAG and/or GGN repeats provide stronger androgen signalling and vice versa. To test the hypothesis that CAG and GGN repeat AR polymorphisms affect muscle mass and various variables of muscular strength phenotype traits, the length of CAG and GGN repeats was determined by PCR and fragment analysis and confirmed by DNA sequencing of selected samples in 282 men (28.6 ± 7.6 years). Individuals were grouped as CAG short (CAG(S)) if harbouring repeat lengths of ≤ 21 and CAG long (CAG(L)) if CAG >21. GGN was considered short (GGN(S)) or long (GGN(L)) if GGN ≤ 23 or >23, respectively. No significant differences in lean body mass or fitness were observed between the CAG(S) and CAG(L) groups, or between GGN(S) and GGN(L) groups, but a trend for a correlation was found for the GGN repeat and lean mass of the extremities (r=-0.11, p=0.06). In summary, the lengths of CAG and GGN repeat of the AR gene do not appear to influence lean mass or fitness in young men.

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