Responsiveness to endurance training can be partly explained by the number of favorable single nucleotide polymorphisms an individual possesses

Henry C. Chung*, Don R. Keiller, Patrick M. Swain, Shaun L. Chapman, Justin D. Roberts, Dan A. Gordon

*Corresponding author for this work

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Cardiorespiratory fitness is a key component of health-related fitness. It is a necessary focus of improvement, especially for those that have poor fitness and are classed as untrained. However, much research has shown individuals respond differentially to identical training programs, suggesting the involvement of a genetic component in individual exercise responses. Previous research has focused predominantly on a relatively low number of candidate genes and their overall influence on exercise responsiveness. However, examination of gene-specific alleles may provide a greater level of understanding. Accordingly, this study aimed to investigate the associations between cardiorespiratory fitness and an individual’s genotype following a field-based endurance program within a previously untrained population. Participants (age: 29 ± 7 years, height: 175 ± 9 cm, mass: 79 ± 21 kg, body mass index: 26 ± 7 kg/m2) were randomly assigned to either a training (n = 21) or control group (n = 24). The training group completed a periodized running program for 8-weeks (duration: 20-30-minutes per session, intensity: 6–7 Borg Category-Ratio-10 scale rating, frequency: 3 sessions per week). Both groups completed a Cooper 12-minute run test to estimate cardiorespiratory fitness at baseline, mid-study, and post-study. One thousand single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were assessed via saliva sample collections. Cooper run distance showed a significant improvement (0.23 ± 0.17 km [11.51 ± 9.09%], p < 0.001, ES = 0.48 [95%CI: 0.16–0.32]), following the 8-week program, whilst controls displayed no significant changes (0.03 ± 0.15 km [1.55 ± 6.98%], p = 0.346, ES = 0.08, [95%CI: -0.35–0.95]). A significant portion of the inter-individual variation in Cooper scores could be explained by the number of positive alleles a participant possessed (r = 0.92, R2 = 0.85, p < 0.001). These findings demonstrate the relative influence of key allele variants on an individual’s responsiveness to endurance training.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0288996
JournalPLoS One
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2023

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