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Covariance of Isometric and Dynamic Arm Contractions: Multivariate Genetic Analysis

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 February 2012

Gunther De Mars*
Affiliation:
Department of Biomedical Kinesiology, Research Center for Exercise and Health, Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium. gunther.demars@faber.kuleuven.be
Martine A. I. Thomis*
Affiliation:
Department of Biomedical Kinesiology, Research Center for Exercise and Health, Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium. martine.thomis@faber.kuleuven.be
An Windelinckx
Affiliation:
Department of Biomedical Kinesiology, Research Center for Exercise and Health, Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
Marc Van Leemputte
Affiliation:
Department of Biomedical Kinesiology, Research Center for Exercise and Health, Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
Hermine H. Maes
Affiliation:
Department of Human Genetics, Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics and Massey Cancer Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, United States of America.
Cameron J. Blimkie
Affiliation:
Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Albrecht L. Claessens
Affiliation:
Department of Biomedical Kinesiology, Research Center for Exercise and Health, Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
Robert Vlietinck
Affiliation:
Department of Human Genetics, Faculty of Medicine, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium.
Gaston Beunen
Affiliation:
Department of Biomedical Kinesiology, Research Center for Exercise and Health, Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
*Corresponding
* Address for correspondence: Gunther De Mars Department of Biomedical Kinesiology, Research Center for Exercise and Health, Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Tervuursevest 101, B-3001 Leuven, Belgium.
* Address for correspondence: Martine Thomis Department of Biomedical Kinesiology, Research Center for Exercise and Health, Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Tervuursevest 101, B-3001 Leuven, Belgium.

Abstract

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The purpose of the present study was to examine genetic and environmental contributions to individual differences in maximal isometric, concentric and eccentric muscle strength and muscle cross-sectional area (MCSA) of the elbow flexors. A generality versus specificity hypothesis was explored to test whether the 4 strength variables share a genetic component or common factors in the environment or whether the genetic/environmental factors are specific for each strength variable. The 4 variables under study were measured in 25 monozygotic and 16 dizygotic male Caucasian twin pairs (22.4 ± 3.7 years). The multivariate genetic analyses showed that all 4 variables shared a genetic and environmental component, which accounted for 43% and 6% in MCSA (h2 = 81%), 47% and 20% in eccentric (h2 = 65%), 58% and 4% in isometric (h2 = 70%) and 32% and 1% in concentric strength (h2 = 32%) respectively. The remaining variation was accounted for by contraction type specific and muscle cross-sectional area specific genetic and environmental effects, which accounted for 38% and 14% in MCSA, 18% and 15% in eccentric, 12% and 26% in isometric and 0% and 67% in concentric strength respectively. This exploratory multivariate study suggests shared pleiotropic gene action for MCSA, eccentric, isometric and concentric strength, with a moderate to high genetic contribution to the variability of these characteristics.

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