Intrinsic cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) is defined as the level of CRF in the sedentary state. There are large individual differences in intrinsic CRF among sedentary adults. The physiology of variability in CRF has received much attention, but little is known about the genetic and molecular mechanisms that impact intrinsic CRF. These issues were explored in the present study by interrogating intrinsic CRF-associated DNA sequence variation and skeletal muscle gene expression data from the HERITAGE Family Study through an integrative bioinformatics guided approach. A combined analytic strategy involving genetic association, pathway enrichment, tissue-specific network structure, cis-regulatory genome effects, and expression quantitative trait loci was used to select and rank genes through a variation-adjusted weighted ranking scheme. Prioritized genes were further interrogated for corroborative evidence from knockout mouse phenotypes and relevant physiological traits from the HERITAGE cohort. The mean intrinsic V O2max was 33.1 ml O2·kg1·min1 (SD 8.8) for the sample of 493 sedentary adults. Suggestive evidence was found for gene loci related to cardiovascular physiology (ATE1, CASQ2, NOTO, and SGCG), hematopoiesis (PICALM, SSB, CA9, and CASQ2), skeletal muscle phenotypes (SGCG, DMRT2, ADARB1, and CASQ2), and metabolism (ATE1, PICALM, RAB11FIP5, GBA2, SGCG, PRADC1, ARL6IP5, and CASQ2). Supportive evidence for a role of several of these loci was uncovered via association between DNA variants and muscle gene expression levels with exercise cardiovascular and muscle physiological traits. This initial effort to define the underlying molecular substrates of intrinsic CRF warrants further studies based on appropriate cohorts and study designs, complemented by functional investigations. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Intrinsic cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) is measured in the sedentary state and is highly variable among sedentary adults. The physiology of variability in intrinsic cardiorespiratory fitness has received much attention, but little is known about the genetic and molecular mechanisms that impact intrinsic CRF. These issues were explored computationally in the present study, with further corroborative evidence obtained from analysis of phenotype data from knockout mouse models and human cardiovascular and skeletal muscle measurements.
- Cardiovascular physiology
- In silico exploration of the biology of cardiorespiratory fitness
- Intrinsic cardiorespiratory fitness
- Skeletal muscle biology
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)