For months (OK…years), I’ve been promising to put myself on an exercise program to increase my physical fitness. Yet, time and time again I have found myself coming up with excuses to avoid exercise. The weather is too cold, it’s too hot, I’m too tired, I have too much work to do… I’m always blaming my lack of exercise on external events. But now all that is about to change.
A new genome wide association study has identified 21 (out of 324,611) SNPs that are responsible for variable physiological response, (maximal oxygen uptake or VO(2)max in particular), to exercise. The epidemiological study analyzed data from three previous exercise studies (HERITAGE family study, the DREW Exercise Training Program and the STRRIDE I and II Exercise Training Programs) with genomic DNA extracted from immortalized lymphoblastoid cell lines, buffy coats and skeletal muscle biopsies.
According to the study:
Subjects who carried 9 or less favorable alleles at these 21 SNPs improved their VO(2)max by 221 mL/min while those who carried 19 or more of these alleles gained on average 604 mL/min.
On average, the gain in VO2max in groups of subjects exposed to several months of endurance exercise is of the order of 15 to 25% independent of age or gender. This study shows that there is a 50% probability of predicting an individual’s VO2max response to exercise based on this panel of 21 SNPs.
The following genes have been identified as important candidates for future genome/exercise studies:
- Acyl CoA synthetase long-chain family member 1 which plays a key role in normal insulin metabolism and fatty-acid induced insulin resistance
- PRDM1 which iswidely expressed and has been implicated in skeletal muscle fiber-type differentiation, germ cell lineage formation, T-cell homeostasis and activation
- GRIN3A which encodes the glutamate receptor, ionotropic, N-methyl D-aspartate 3A receptor and is involved in the development of synaptic element
- KCNH8, potassium channel, voltage-gated, subfamily H, member 8
- Zinc finger protein of cerebellum 4
Now I can stop tormenting myself with thoughts of the harm the lack of exercise is doing to my body. Who’s to say that exercise will help? It’s all in my genes anyways!