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Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2017 Oct;25(10):3311-3318. doi: 10.1007/s00167-016-4081-6. Epub 2016 Apr 16.

Genetic biomarkers in non-contact muscle injuries in elite soccer players.

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F.C. Barcelona Medical Services, FIFA Medical Center of Excellence, Barcelona, Spain.
SM Genomics, Barcelona, Spain.
Department of Orthopaedics, Sahlgrenska University, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Department of Musculoskeletal Disorders, Faculty of Medicine, Surgery and Dentistry, University of Salerno, Fisciano, Italy.
Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Mile End Hospital, Queen Mary University of London, London, England.



Damage to skeletal muscle necessitates regeneration to maintain proper muscle form and function. Interindividual differences in injury severity, recovery time, and injury rate could be explained by the presence of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes involved in the reparation and regeneration of connective tissue . We wished to identify new genetic biomarkers that could help to prevent or minimize the risk of non-contact muscle injuries and are associated with a predisposition to developing muscle injuries.


Using allelic discrimination techniques, we analysed 12 SNPs in selected genes from the genomic DNA of 74 elite soccer players.


SNPs in the hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) gene showed evidence of a statistically significant association with injury incidence, severity, and recovery time. SNPs in the SOX15 gene showed evidence of a statistically significant association with injury incidence. SNPs in the GEFT and LIF genes showed evidence of a statistically significant association with recovery time.


Genetic profile could explain why some elite soccer players are predisposed to suffer more injuries than others and why they need more time to recover from a particular injury. SNPs in HGF genes have an important role as biomarkers of biological processes fragility within muscle injuries related to injury rate, severity, and long recovery time.


Connective tissue; Injury rate; Muscle injury; Recovery time; Single nucleotide polymorphisms

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