Physical activity modulates effects of some genetic polymorphisms affecting cardiovascular risk in men aged over 40 years

L. Pisciotta, A. Cantafora, A. Piana, P. Masturzo, R. Cerone, G. Minniti, A. Bellocchio, E. Reggiani, U. Armani, S. Bertolini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Aim: Several genetic polymorphisms have been found to be involved in cardiovascular risk, and many studies have documented the beneficial effect of systematic physical activity (PA) on the cardiovascular system. Our aim was to investigate the interactive effects of PA and genetic background on plasma lipids and homocysteine (tHcy) levels. Methods and Results: Clinical and metabolic parameters, dietary intakes and some polymorphisms of the genes involved in cardiovascular risk (Apo E, fatty acid binding protein-2, Apo AII, hepatic lipase and methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase) were determined in 100 men aged over 40 years who cycle 120-150 Km/week and 100 age-matched sedentary controls. The physically active subjects had lower concentrations of plasma LDL cholesterol (LDL-C), triglyceride (TG), Apo B, glucose and tHcy, and higher concentrations of plasma HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) and Apo AI than the sedentary men; they also had larger LDL particle sizes (LDLs). The LDL-C and Apo B raising effect of the Apo E ε4 allele detectable in the sedentary subjects was totally absent in the cyclists, in whom the LDL-C and Apo B lowering effect of the ε2 allele was observed. PA blunted the TG-raising effect of the Apo AII -265 TT genotype, and amplified the HDL-C raising effect of the HL -250AA genotype. PA had a small but significant lowering effect on plasma tHcy adjusted for folate levels in subjects with the 677TT genotype of the MTHFR gene. Conclusions: Extended high-intensity PA in men aged over 40 years may modify their metabolic cardiovascular risk factors even in the presence of some unfavourable genotypes. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis (2003) 13: 202-210

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-210
Number of pages9
JournalNutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2003


  • Genetic polymorphisms (Apo E, FABP-2, Apo AII, HL and MTHFR)
  • Lipoprotein pattern
  • Physical fitness
  • Plasma homocysteine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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