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NRF-1 genotypes and endurance exercise capacity in young Chinese men
  1. Z He1,2,
  2. Y Hu2,
  3. L Feng1,
  4. Y Li2,
  5. G Liu2,
  6. Y Xi3,
  7. L Wen3,
  8. A Lucia4
  1. 1
    Biology Center, China Institute of Sport Science, Beijing, China
  2. 2
    Sports Research Center, Beijing Sport University, Beijing, China
  3. 3
    Department of Sport and Human Sciences, Tianjin Institute of Physical Education, Tianjin, China
  4. 4
    Universidad Europea de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
  1. Dr Y Hu, Sports Research Center, Beijing Sport University, Beijing 100084, China; bsugene{at}


Background: Nuclear respiratory factor 1 (NRF-1) is a critical component of the energy-sensing mechanism in mammalian cells, and translates physiological signals (particularly those induced by exercise) into increased capacity for mitochondrial biogenesis and oxidative phosphorylation.

Objective: To study the possible association between rs2402970, rs6949152 and rs10500120 NRF-1 genotypes and several phenotypes indicative of maximum (VO2max) and submaximum aerobic capacity (ventilatory threshold (VT) and metabolic cost of submaximum running at 12 km/hour (running economy; RE)) both at baseline and in response to a 18-week endurance training programme in young Chinese men of Han origin (n = 102; 19 (SD 1) years).

Results: For rs2402970, a significant genotype effect was seen for VT (p = 0.004) and RE (p = 0.027). For rs6949152, a significant interaction (genotype×training) effect (p = 0.047) was found for VT.

Conclusions: There is an association between NRF-1 genotypes (rs2402970 and rs6949152 polymorphisms) and the baseline and/or training response of human aerobic capacity. More research is needed to corroborate our data in other ethnic groups with lower fitness levels at the pre-training state (particularly Caucasians) and to identify the molecular mechanisms involved in the genotype–phenotype associations we found.

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  • Competing interests: None.