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HomeHealth articlesangiotensin-converting enzyme geneHow Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Gene Improves Sports Activity?

Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Gene - Function, Effects, and Sports Activity

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The genetic traits are not linked with sports excellence, although the renin-Angiotensin system controls the cardiac activity of potential candidates. Read below.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar

Published At May 5, 2023
Reviewed AtAugust 10, 2023


According to several researchers, individual differences in human physical performance result from the combination of genetic and environmental variables, including physical makeup, biomechanical, physiological, metabolic, behavioral, psychological, and social traits. Although few genetic variants of effect have been revealed, endurance performance is widely established. The Angiotensin I-converting enzyme gene is one of them (ACE). The Angiotensin-converting enzyme plays an important role in physiological systems: the generation of Angiotensin II and the breakdown of bradykinin. An allelic variant of the gene-producing ACE is connected to endurance and power performance of human athletic activities like swimming, sprinting, long-distance running, orienteering, cross-country skiing, and triathlon (multisport race consisting of swimming, cycling, and running).

What Is an Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme?

The renin-Angiotensin system (RAS) regulates blood pressure by altering the volume of the body fluid, which is made up of the Angiotensin-converting enzyme, or ACE. Angiotensin I, a hormone, is changed into Angiotensin II, an active vasoconstrictor. As a result of the constriction of blood vessels, ACE indirectly raises blood pressure. Therefore, ACE inhibitors are frequently used to treat cardiovascular disorders. Angiotensin-converting enzymes are also called kinase II.

What Is an Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Gene?

The ACE gene encodes two isozymes. The germinal isozyme is mainly expressed in sperm. On the other hand, the somatic isozyme is expressed in various organs, chiefly the lung, and is found in testicular Leydig cells, epithelial kidney cells, and vascular endothelial cells. The ACE enzyme in brain tissue participates in the local renin-Angiotensin system (RAS) and changes beta amyloid A42, forming plaques into A40, which is considered less harmful.

These two are the primary function of the ACE enzyme's N domain. Therefore, A42 buildup and dementia development may be brought on by ACE inhibitors that pass the blood-brain barrier and have selectively chosen N-terminal action.

What Is the Function of the Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Gene?

The Angiotensin-converting enzyme is made according to instructions from the ACE gene.

  • ACE's major function includes hydrolyzing peptides by eliminating a dipeptide from the C-terminus. Eventually, the Angiotensin-converting enzyme turns an Angiotensin I protein into Angiotensin II by splitting it at a specific place. The renin-Angiotensin system (RAS) regulates bodily fluid volume to maintain blood pressure. The type 1 Angiotensin II receptor (AT1) binds to Angiotensin II, which causes a series of reactions that cause vasoconstriction and hence raise blood pressure. Angiotensin II has a strong vasoconstrictor (narrowing of blood vessels) effect dependent on substrate concentration. Blood pressure also rises due to the additional fluid in the body.

  • The hormone aldosterone, which encourages the kidneys to absorb salt and water, is likewise stimulated by this protein.

  • The kidneys, specifically the structures known as the proximal tubules and other tissues, must develop normally when the blood pressure is maintained at an optimal level during fetal growth so that oxygen can reach the growing organs. Additionally, Angiotensin II could influence growth factors in forming kidney structures, allowing it to directly impact kidney development.

  • The Angiotensin-converting enzyme can split other proteins, like bradykinin, which lowers blood pressure by widening (dilating) blood vessels. Bradykinin is rendered inactive by the Angiotensin-converting enzyme, which aids in raising blood pressure.

What Are the Effects of Angiotensin-Converting Enzymes?

The Angiotensin-converting enzymes have significantly increased in the following condition:

  • COVID-19: The frequency of the ACE1 D-allele is independently associated with the incidence and mortality of COVID-19.

  • Alzheimer's Disease: ACE levels are often greater in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. Major amyloid-beta peptide degrading enzymes, such as Neprilysin, may become more active in the brain as a result of ACE inhibitors that can pass through the blood-brain barrier (BBB), which may prevent Alzheimer's disease from progressing.

ACE inhibitors are used to treat a variety of illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes mellitus, diabetic nephropathy, excessive blood pressure, and heart failure. Due to reduced Angiotensin II synthesis and bradykinin metabolism, the arteries and veins dilate, and the arterial blood pressure decreases. Additionally, preventing the production of Angiotensin II reduces the release of aldosterone from the adrenal cortex via Angiotensin II, lowering salt and water absorption and decreasing extracellular volume.

How Does the Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Gene Influences Athletic Performance?

The Angiotensin-converting enzyme gene has more than 160 polymorphisms consisting of either an insertion (I) or absence (D). Plasma levels of the ACE protein are greater in the DD genotype, intermediate in the DI genotype, and lower in the II genotype. Exercise causes blood pressure to rise more quickly for D-allele carriers than I-allele carriers because they have higher ACE levels and a greater ability to create Angiotensin II. As a result, heart rate and oxygen consumption (VO2 max) decreased. Hence, those carrying the D allele are 10 % more likely to develop cardiovascular illnesses.

Furthermore, compared to the I-allele, the D-allele is linked to a higher rate of left ventricular development in response to training. However, I-allele carriers often exhibit improved physical endurance due to higher maximum oxygen intake, increased maximal heart rate, and decreased ACE levels. Additionally, the genotype has the following role in influencing athletic performance,

  • The I allele is more common in competitive cyclists, rowers, and distance runners. Meanwhile, exceptional swimmers have been discovered to have a considerable excess of the D allele, linked to strength- and power-oriented performance.

  • The Angiotensin type-1 receptor possesses two functional polymorphisms that have not been demonstrated to be linked with performance. Whereas the ACE genotype influences bradykinin levels, and the bradykinin to receptor has a widespread gene variation. The high kinin activity haplotype has been linked to improved endurance performance at the Olympic level and triathletes with metabolic efficiency.

  • Although the ACE genotype and related polymorphism have substantial connections at the level of a particular organ, they are also correlated with overall performance ability.


There are currently no known genetic factors that could contribute to the development of exceptional athletes. However, the renin-Angiotensin pathway may contain potential candidate genes, which are important in controlling cardiac and vascular physiology. The ACE I allele is a genetic marker for improved circulatory system adaptability and endurance during intense physical activity. In evaluating genotype, which is also connected to athletic excellence, it is necessary to complete the evaluation of acute physical state because the D allele may be linked to the successful performance by endurance athletes in upcoming world championships. The hypothesis that the ACE D allele substantially affects athletic efficiency requires further research to be validated.

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Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar
Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar

Pulmonology (Asthma Doctors)


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