Purpose: There is an increase in the incidence of Achilles tendon injuries as a result of the participation in physical activity. It has been suggested that some individuals have a genetic predisposition to Achilles tendon pathology (ATP). The aim of this study was to determine whether the alpha 1 type V collagen (COL5A1) gene, which encodes for a tendon protein, is associated with the symptoms of ATP.
Methods: One-hundred and eleven Caucasian subjects diagnosed with ATP and 129 Caucasian control (CON) subjects were genotyped for the BstUI and DpnII restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs) within the COL5A1 gene.
Results: There was a significant difference in the allele frequencies of the COL5A1 BstUI RFLP between the ATP and CON subjects (P=0.006). The frequency of the A2 allele was significantly higher in the CON group (29.8%) than in the ATP group (18.0%) (odds ratio of 1.9; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.3-3.0; P=0.004). This allele had a stronger protective role when only the 72 patients diagnosed with chronic Achilles tendinopathy were analyzed (odds ratio of 2.6; 95% CI 1.5-4.5).
Conclusions: The COL5A1 BstUI RFLP is associated with ATP and more specifically, chronic Achilles tendinopathy. Individuals with an A2 allele of this gene are less likely of developing symptoms of chronic Achilles tendinopathy.