Background and aims: The α-actinin-3 (ACTN3) gene plays a key role in muscle signaling pathways and sarcomere contraction. Iranian weightlifters are among the most successful world and Olympic champions. Therefore, the present study was performed to compare the genetic profile of the single-nucleotide polymorphism of the ACTN3 gene in elite Iranian male weightlifters vs. non-athletes.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was of a qualitative-quantitative type. Subjects included 30 volunteer elite male weightlifters, including all of Iran’s premier league, members of the national team, Olympic, world, and Asian champions of Isfahan province, with a mean age of 21.77±7.11, the height of 179.87±6.98, and the weight of 96.87±22.73 (Mean±SD) versus 30 volunteers available healthy non-athletes who were the same in age, height, and weight as weightlifters. After completing the consent form and physical health measurement questionnaire, participants’ saliva samples were collected, and DNA was extracted accordingly. Genotypes were determined after performing the polymerase chain reaction via the Tetra-Arms method and electrophoresis. Data were analyzed by SPSS (version 20) and the chi-square test (P<0.05).
Results: The prevalence of the RR genotype in selected weightlifters (56.7%) was significantly higher than that of other genotypes (χ2=13.40, P=0.03). There was a significant difference in ACTN3 R/X genotype distribution (P=0.039, χ2=6.48) between weightlifters and non-athletes.
Conclusion: A higher prevalence of the RR genotype of the ACTN3 gene in selected elite male weightlifters versus non-athletes can be likely considered for selecting genetically predisposed individuals.