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Our attention this week is on another gene that is found as part of our Peak Performance algorithm, which has been shown to enhance response to a resistance training programme. The gene we are focusing on this week is BDKRB2, which encodes for the bradykinin B2 receptor, which comprises one of the pathways through which bradykinin can exert its influence. Bradykinin itself is a protein that causes dilation (widening) of blood vessels, making it easier for blood to move to certain areas of the body. The effects of this gene are closely linked to the of ACE, which is a gene we met earlier in this series. Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme, which is produced by the ACE gene, also breaks down bradykinin, such that ACE II genotypes (who have lower levels of ACE) should theoretically have higher levels of bradykinin.

When we look at BDKRB2, what we are interested in is whether a person has a specific sequence of DNA called a base-pair repeat; those that have this sequence are said to have the +9 allele, and those without it are said to have the -9 allele. As you might remember, typically at DNAFit we report alleles as A, T, C or G - the individual base nucleotides that make up DNA - and so when giving information on this gene we report the +9 variant as the C allele, and the -9 variant as the T allele. The T allele (-9 variant) is associated with higher amounts of BDKRB2 being produced – and this is thought to increase response to endurance exercise.

This has been looked at in a number of studies, including one published in 2003 in the Journal of Applied Physiology. In this paper, the researchers got a group of males and females, and got them to do a series of exercises on a stationary bike to test for muscular efficiency – how much energy they used during exercise. The better the efficiency, the better that person is likely to be at prolonged exercise, as they are likely to use less energy for a given amount of work, and hence can exercise for longer. Those subjects with the TT genotype were found to have greater efficiency than the CC genotype, suggesting they might respond better to endurance exercise. Within the same paper, the researchers also looked at a group of 91 elite British athletes, and found that the T allele was much more common in endurance athletes (5000m runners+) than it was in sprinters and middle distance runners – again suggesting that the T allele is associated with a better response to endurance exercise. Similar results have been reported in other studies, including one conducted in elite triathletes; again, the T allele was more prevalent in the endurance athletes than a control group.

All of this suggests that those with the T allele should see greater improvements following endurance exercise than those with the CC genotype, and so might be well placed to focus on endurance activities slightly more within their training. The below table summarises the main effects of the different BDKRB2 genotypes:

 

BDKRB2 Genotype

Effect

TT

Contributes to a positive response to endurance training, especially with regards to muscle efficiency.

CT

A more moderate form of TT – contributes to a good response to endurance training.

CC

Contributes to a reduced response to endurance training, and so might be well placed to undertake more power-based activities.

 

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Gene in focus Power training Endurance training Fitness Workout Genetics

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