Background: To date, studies investigating the association between ACTN3 R577X and ACE I/D gene variants and elite sprint/power performance have been limited by small cohorts from mixed sport disciplines, without quantitative measures of performance. Aim: To examine the association between these variants and sprint time in elite athletes. Methods: We collected a total of 555 best personal 100-, 200-, and 400-m times of 346 elite sprinters in a large cohort of elite Caucasian or African origin sprinters from 10 different countries. Sprinters were genotyped for ACTN3 R577X and ACE ID variants. Results: On average, male Caucasian sprinters with the ACTN3 577RR or the ACE DD genotype had faster best 200-m sprint time than their 577XX (21.19±0.53s vs. 21.86±0.54s, p=0.016) and ACE II (21.33±0.56 vs. 21.93±0.67 sec, p=0.004) counterparts and only one case of ACE II, and no cases of ACTN3 577XX, had a faster 200-m time than the 2012 London Olympics qualifying (vs. 12 qualified sprinters with 577RR or 577RX genotype). Caucasian sprinters with the ACE DD genotype had faster best 400-m sprint time than their ACE II counterparts (46.94±1.19s vs. 48.50±1.07s, p=0.003). Using genetic models we found that the ACTN3 577R allele and ACE D allele dominant model account for 0.92% and 1.48% of sprint time variance, respectively.
Conclusions: Despite sprint performance relying on many gene variants and environment, the % sprint time variance explained by ACE and ACTN3 is substantial at the elite level and might be the difference between a world record and only making the final.
© 2016 Papadimitriou et al. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
- Athletic performance