Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) is a key enzyme in the production of angiotensin II. The cloning of the ACE gene has made it possible to identify a deletion (D)-insertion (I) polymorphism that appears to affect the level of serum ACE activity. The aim of our study was to analyse the ACE gene I/D polymorphism in Turkish male athletes and to evaluate its relationship to left ventricular mass and function.
Forty male athletes (mean age 23.4+1.8 years) were included in this study, and they underwent both complete echocardiographic assessment and analysis of ACE I and D allele frequencies in peripheral blood by polymerase chain reaction. They were separated into three subgroups according to their ACE DD (n=13), DI (n=16) and II (n=11) genotypes. Thickness of the interventricular septum (IVS), the left ventricular posterior wall (LVPW) and left ventricular mass (LVM) and LVM index (LVMI) were measured by the M-mode. Left ventricular ejection fraction was calculated using Simpson’s method, and so was the myocardial performance index.
There was no statistically significant differences between the ACE DD, DI and II genotypes at the p>0.05 level by age, body mass index, heart rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressures. The thickness of the IVS (12 mm) and LVPW (10.7 mm), and LVM (302.8 g) and LVMI (157.3 g/m2) in ACE DD genotypes were higher than for both ACE DI (10.8 mm; 9.7 mm; 231.9 g; 125.3 g/m2) and II genotypes (9.0 mm; 8.6 mm; 185.0 g; 107.5 g/m2) in athletes. Left ventricular systolic and global functions among the three ACE genotypes were not different statistically.
Our findings suggest that left ventricular hypertrophy is partially determined by genetic disposition and DD genotype of ACE is a potential genetic marker associated with an elevated risk of left ventricular hypertrophy.
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