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PLoS One. 2013 Jun 14;8(6):e67172. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0067172. Print 2013.

Association between the Pro12Ala polymorphism of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma gene and strength athlete status.

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Department of Biological Bases of Physical Culture, Faculty of Physical Education and Health Promotion, University of Szczecin, Szczecin, Poland.



The 12Ala allele of the Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor gamma gene (PPARG) Pro12Ala polymorphism produces a decreased binding affinity of the PPARγ2 protein, resulting in low activation of the target genes. The 12Ala allele carriers display a significantly improved insulin sensitivity that may result in better glucose utilisation in working skeletal muscles. We hypothesise that the PPARG 12Ala allele could be associated with strength athlete status in Polish athletes.


The genotype distribution of PPARG Pro12Ala was examined in 660 Polish athletes. The athletes were stratified into four subgroups: endurance, strength-endurance, sprint-strength and strength. Control samples were prepared from 684 unrelated sedentary volunteers. A χ(2) test was used to compare the PPARG Pro12Ala allele and genotype frequencies between the different groups of athletes and control subjects. Bonferroni's correction for multiple testing was applied.


A statistically significant higher frequency of PPARG 12Ala alleles was observed in the subgroup of strength athletes performing short-term and very intense exertion characterised by predominant anaerobic energy production (13.2% vs. 7.5% in controls; P = 0.0007).


The PPARG 12Ala allele may be a relevant genetic factor favouring strength abilities in professional athletes, especially in terms of insulin-dependent metabolism, a shift of the energy balance towards glucose utilisation and the development of a favourable weight-to-strength ratio.

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