Frequency of the MSTN Lys(K)-153Arg(R) polymorphism among track & field athletes and swimmers

Sigal Ben-Zaken*, Yoav Meckel, Dan Nemet, Moran Rabinovich, Eias Kassem, Alon Eliakim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The myostatin (. MSTN) Lys(K)-153Arg(R) polymorphism may influence skeletal muscle phenotypes. Carrying the rare R allele was associated with greater muscle mass. Purpose: The aim of the present study was to assess the frequency of the MSTN Lys(K)-153Arg(R) polymorphism among Israeli track and field athletes (n. =. 185) and swimmers (n. =. 80). Methods: Track and field athletes were divided into long distance runners (major event 5000. m-marathon, n. =. 113) and power athletes (major event 100200. m sprints and long jump, n. =. 72). Swimmers were divided into long-distance swimmers (major event: 800-1500. m, n. =. 38), and short-distance swimmers (major event: 50-100. m, n. =. 42). The control group included 118 non-athletes healthy participants. Results: Twenty-seven track and field athletes (14.6%) and 7 swimmers (8.8%) were carriers of the rare MSTN R allele, and only two carried the 153RR genotype (0.8%). MSTN 153R allele frequency was significantly higher in top-compared to national-level among long-distance runners (26% versus 8%, p. <. 0.05), short distance runners (16% versus 9%, p. <. 0.05), and all runners combined (20% versus 8%, p. <. 0.05), but not in top- compared to national-level swimmers. The frequency of arginine carriers was significantly greater among long compared to short-distance swimmers (16% versus 2%, p. <. 0.03). Conclusion: In contrast to elite endurance and power track and field athletes, the MSTN 153RR genotype was not found in short distance-swimmers, and among the long distance-swimmers it was not associated with top level swimming performance. Whether evaluation of the MSTN K153R polymorphism can be used for sports selection in young athletes needs to be further studied.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-200
Number of pages5
JournalGrowth Hormone and IGF Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2015


  • MSTN polymorphism
  • Runners
  • Swimmers


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