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J Sports Sci. 2014;32(4):375-82. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2013.825731. Epub 2013 Sep 9.

Association of the MTHFR 1298A>C (rs1801131) polymorphism with speed and strength sports in Russian and Polish athletes.

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a Department of Sport Education , Academy of Physical Education and Sport , Gdansk , Poland.


It has been suggested that DNA hypomethylation because of poorer effectiveness of the 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) enzyme induces muscular growth. We hypothesised that the common, functional 1298A>C polymorphism in the MTHFR gene is associated with athletic status. To test this hypothesis, we investigated the distribution of the 1298A>C variant in Polish (n = 302) and Russian (n = 842) athletes divided into four groups: endurance, strength-endurance, sprint-strength and strength-endurance, as well as in 1540 control participants. We found different genotypes (the AC heterozygote advantage) and allele distributions among sprint-strength athletes and strength athletes than the groups of sedentary controls for each nationality. In the combined study, the allelic frequencies for the 1298C variant were 35.6% in sprint-strength athletes (OR 1.18 [1.02-1.36], P = 0.024 vs. controls) and 38.6% in strength athletes (OR 1.34 [1.10-1.64], P = 0.003 vs. controls). The results of the initial and repetition studies as well as the combined analysis suggest that the functional 1298A>C polymorphism in the MTHFR gene is associated with athletic status. The presence of the C allele seems to be beneficial in sprint-strength and strength athletes. It needs to be established whether and to what extent this effect is mediated by alteration in DNA methylation status.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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