Genes whose gain or loss-of-function increases endurance performance in Mice: A systematic literature review

Fakhreddin Yaghoob Nezhad, Sander A.J. Verbrugge, Martin Schönfelder, Lore Becker, Martin Hrabe De Angelis, Henning Wackerhage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Endurance is not only a key factor in many sports but endurance-related variables are also associated with good health and low mortality. Twin and family studies suggest that several endurance-associated traits are ≈50% inherited. However, we still poorly understand what DNA sequence variants contribute to endurance heritability. To address this issue, we conducted a systematic review to identify genes whose experimental loss or gain-of-function increases endurance capacity in mice. We found 31 genes including two isoforms of Ppargc1a whose manipulation increases running or swimming endurance performance by up to 1800%. Genes whose gain-of-function increases endurance are Adcy5, Adcy8, Hk2, Il15, Mef2c, Nr4a3, Pck1 (Pepck), Ppard, Ppargc1a (both the a and b isoforms of the protein Pgc-1α), Ppargc1b, Ppp3ca (calcineurin), Scd1, Slc5a7, Tfe3, Tfeb, Trib3 & Trpv1. Genes whose loss-of-function increases endurance in mice are Actn3, Adrb2, Bdkrb2, Cd47, Crym, Hif1a, Myoz1, Pappa, Pknox1, Pten, Sirt4, Thbs1, Thra, and Tnfsf12. Of these genes, human DNA sequence variants of ACTN3, ADCY5, ADRB2, BDKRB2, HIF1A, PPARD, PPARGC1A, PPARGC1B, and PPP3CA are also associated with endurance capacity and/or VO2max trainability suggesting evolutionary conservation between mice and humans. Bioinformatical analyses show that there are numerous amino acid or copy number-changing DNA variants of endurance genes in humans, suggesting that genetic variation of endurance genes contributes to the variation of human endurance capacity, too. Moreover, several of these genes/proteins change their expression or phosphorylation in skeletal muscle or the heart after endurance exercise, suggesting a role in the adaptation to endurance exercise.

Original languageEnglish
Article number262
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Issue numberMAR
StatePublished - 2019


  • Endurance
  • GWAS
  • Genetics
  • Metabolism
  • Mitochondrial biogenesis
  • Oxygen uptake
  • Running
  • Transgenic mice


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