Common genetic variation in the IGF1 associates with maximal force output

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011 Dec;43(12):2368-74. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3182220179.


Purpose: We clarified the effect of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF1), IGF-binding protein-3 (IGFBP3), interleukin-6 (IL6), and its receptor (IL6R) gene variants on muscular and aerobic performance, body composition, and on circulating levels of IGF-1 and IL-6. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) may, in general, influence gene regulation or its expression, or the structure and function of the corresponding protein, and modify its biological effects. IGF-1 is involved in the anabolic pathways of skeletal muscle. IL-6 plays an important role in muscle energy homeostasis during strenuous physical exercise.

Methods: Eight hundred forty-one healthy Finnish male subjects of Caucasian origin were genotyped for IGF1 (rs6220 and rs7136446), IGFBP3 (rs2854744), IL6 (rs1800795), and IL6R (rs4537545) SNPs, and studied for associations with maximal force of leg extensor muscles, maximal oxygen consumption, body fat percent, and IGF-1 and IL-6 levels. Analytic methods included dynamometer, bicycle ergometer, bioimpedance, ELISA, and polymerase chain reaction assays.

Results: All investigated SNPs conformed to Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium with allele frequencies validated against CEU population. Genotype CC of rs7136446 associated with higher body fat and increased maximal force production. Genotype CC of the IGFBP3 SNP rs2854744 and TT genotype of the IL6R SNP rs4537545 associated with higher IL-6 levels. In logistic regression analysis, allele C of the rs2854744 decreased odds for lower body fat. None of the studied SNPs associated with aerobic performance.

Conclusions: Our data suggest that common variation in the IGF1 gene may affect maximal force production, which can be explained by the role of IGF-1 in the anabolic pathways of muscle and neurotrophy. Variations in the IGF1 and IGFBP3 gene may result in higher body fat and be related to alterations of IGF-1-mediated tissue growth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity / genetics
  • Adiposity / physiology
  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3 / genetics
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / genetics*
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Interleukin-6 / genetics
  • Leg / physiology
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / genetics*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Oxygen Consumption / genetics
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Receptors, Interleukin-6 / genetics
  • Young Adult


  • IGFBP3 protein, human
  • IL6 protein, human
  • IL6R protein, human
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3
  • Interleukin-6
  • Receptors, Interleukin-6
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I