Purpose: There is a large interindividual variation in the parasympathetic adaptation induced by aerobic exercise training, which may be partially attributed to genetic polymorphisms. Therefore, we investigated the association among three polymorphisms in the endothelial nitric oxide gene (−786T>C, 4b4a, and 894G>T), analyzed individually and as haplotypes, and the parasympathetic adaptation induced by exercise training.
Methods: Eighty healthy males, age 20-35 yr, were genotyped by polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis, and haplotypes were inferred using the software PHASE 2.1. Autonomic modulation (i.e., HR variability and spontaneous baroreflex sensitivity) and peak oxygen consumption (V˙O2peak) were measured before and after training (running, moderate to severe intensity, three times per week, 60 min·day−1, during 18 wk).
Results: Training increased V˙O2peak (P < 0.05) and decreased mean arterial pressure (P < 0.05) in the whole sample. Subjects with the −786C polymorphic allele had a significant reduction in baroreflex sensitivity after training (change: wild type (−786TT) = 2% ± 89% vs polymorphic (−786TC/CC) = −28% ± 60%, median ± quartile range, P = 0.03), and parasympathetic modulation was marginally reduced in subjects with the 894T polymorphic allele (change: wild type (894GG) = 8% ± 67% vs polymorphic (894GT/TT) = −18% ± 59%, median ± quartile range, P = 0.06). Furthermore, parasympathetic modulation percent change was different between the haplotypes containing wild-type alleles (−786T/4b/894G) and polymorphic alleles at positions −786 and 894 (−786C/4b/894T) (−6% ± 56% vs −41% ± 50%, median ± quartile range, P = 0.04).
Conclusions: The polymorphic allele at position −786 and the haplotype containing polymorphic alleles at positions −786 and 894 in the endothelial nitric oxide gene were associated with decreased parasympathetic modulation after exercise training.