Purpose: To determine the role of the ACE (I/D) gene polymorphism on erythropoietic response in endurance athletes after natural exposure to moderate altitude. Methods: Erythropoietic activity was measured in 63 male endurance athletes following natural exposure to moderate altitude (2200 m) during 48 h. Erythropoietin (EPO) levels and hemoglobin (Hb) concentrations were measured at baseline and 12, 24, and 48 h after reaching the set altitude. Reticulocyte counts were determined at baseline and 48 h thereafter. Subjects were grouped into two groups (responders and nonresponders) based on significant increase in EPO levels (median: > 16.5 ng·m -1 ) after 24 h at altitude. ACE gene polymorphism was ascertained by polymerase chain reaction (DD, 31 (49%); ID, 24 (38%); II, 8 (13%)). Results: Overall, EPO levels significantly increased at 12 (70%; P = 0.0001) and 24 h (72%; P = 0.0001) above baseline concentration following exposure to 2200 m. Thereafter, EPO concentration decreased at 48 h, but a significant increase in Hb levels (4.6 ± 4%; P = 0.0001) and reticulocyte count (50.5 ± 79%; P = 0.0001) was observed at the end of the experiment, suggesting negative feedback. There were no significant differences in EPO and Hb concentration profiles between subjects with DD genotype and those with other genotypes (ID/II). Moreover, responders (W = 42; DD, 50%; ID/II, 50%) and nonresponders (N = 21; DD, 48%; ID/II, 52%) showed a similar erythropoietic profile during the experiment and the ACE gene polymorphism did not influence the time course of the erythropoietic response. Conclusions: The ACE gene polymorphism does not influence erythropoietic activity in endurance athletes after short-term exposure to moderate altitude. Copyright © 2006 by the American College of Sports Medicine.
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