Document Detail

Inheritance of heart structure and physical exercise capacity: a study of left ventricular structure and exercise capacity in 7-year-old twins.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  2307165     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The maximal aerobic power of endurance athletes is high and their heart is characterized by a larger left ventricular internal dimension than in non-athletes, and a proportional increase of wall thickness; these traits may be inherited and/or the consequence of intense physical training. To assess the influence of inheritance on physical exercise capacity and on echocardiographically determined cardiac structure, and to limit the effect of environmental factors as much as possible, we studied 15 monozygotic and 19 dizygotic 6- to 8-year-old twin pairs. Exercise capacity was expressed as the times at which the heart rates of, respectively, 150 and 170 beats min-1 were reached during a progressive exercise test on the treadmill. For these exercise times the within-pair variance was significantly larger in dizygotic compared with monozygotic twins. Therefore significant genetic variance was inferred, both when the exercise times were expressed as absolute values and after adjustment for body weight and gender. As for cardiac structure at rest, the results did not suggest a significant influence of genetic endowment on left ventricular internal diameter or on wall thickness; genetic variance was significant, however, for calculated left ventricular mass (P less than 0.05) and left ventricular mass adjusted for body weight and gender. The results are compatible with the notion that the high aerobic power of endurance athletes is at least partly inherited. Left ventricular internal dimension and wall thickness, which distinguish an athlete's heart at rest from the heart of a non-athlete, do not show a significant genetic component, suggesting that the qualities characteristic of an athlete's heart, at least as assessed at rest, are not inherited. The inheritance of aerobic power may be due to inheritance of non-cardiac factors or to cardiac features which are only expressed during exercise.
E Bielen; R Fagard; A Amery
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  European heart journal     Volume:  11     ISSN:  0195-668X     ISO Abbreviation:  Eur. Heart J.     Publication Date:  1990 Jan 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1990-04-06     Completed Date:  1990-04-06     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8006263     Medline TA:  Eur Heart J     Country:  ENGLAND    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  7-16     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Pathophysiology, University of Leuven, Belgium.
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MeSH Terms
Blood Pressure / physiology
Exercise Test
Heart / anatomy & histology*,  physiology
Heart Rate / physiology
Heart Ventricles
Myocardial Contraction
Physical Endurance*
Random Allocation
Single-Blind Method
Twins, Dizygotic
Twins, Monozygotic

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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