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Common Genetic Variation in the IGF1 Associates with Maximal Force Output


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: December 2011 - Volume 43 - Issue 12 - p 2368–2374
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3182220179
Applied Sciences

Purpose We clarified the effect of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF1), IGF-binding protein-3 (IGFBP3), interleukin-6 (IL6), and its receptor (IL6R) gene variants on muscular and aerobic performance, body composition, and on circulating levels of IGF-1 and IL-6. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) may, in general, influence gene regulation or its expression, or the structure and function of the corresponding protein, and modify its biological effects. IGF-1 is involved in the anabolic pathways of skeletal muscle. IL-6 plays an important role in muscle energy homeostasis during strenuous physical exercise.

Methods Eight hundred forty-one healthy Finnish male subjects of Caucasian origin were genotyped for IGF1 (rs6220 and rs7136446), IGFBP3 (rs2854744), IL6 (rs1800795), and IL6R (rs4537545) SNPs, and studied for associations with maximal force of leg extensor muscles, maximal oxygen consumption, body fat percent, and IGF-1 and IL-6 levels. Analytic methods included dynamometer, bicycle ergometer, bioimpedance, ELISA, and polymerase chain reaction assays.

Results All investigated SNPs conformed to Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium with allele frequencies validated against CEU population. Genotype CC of rs7136446 associated with higher body fat and increased maximal force production. Genotype CC of the IGFBP3 SNP rs2854744 and TT genotype of the IL6R SNP rs4537545 associated with higher IL-6 levels. In logistic regression analysis, allele C of the rs2854744 decreased odds for lower body fat. None of the studied SNPs associated with aerobic performance.

Conclusions Our data suggest that common variation in the IGF1 gene may affect maximal force production, which can be explained by the role of IGF-1 in the anabolic pathways of muscle and neurotrophy. Variations in the IGF1 and IGFBP3 gene may result in higher body fat and be related to alterations of IGF-1–mediated tissue growth.

1Institute of Biomedicine, Physiology, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, FINLAND; 2Department of Surgery, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, FINLAND; 3Defence Command, Personnel Division, Finnish Defence Forces, FINLAND; and 4Department of Biology of Physical Activity, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, FINLAND

Address for correspondence: Mustafa Atalay, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., Institute of Biomedicine, Physiology, University of Eastern Finland, P.O. Box 1627, FI-70211 Kuopio, Finland; E-mail:

Submitted for publication October 2010.

Accepted for publication April 2011.

©2011The American College of Sports Medicine