Muscle-tendon architecture in Kenyans and Japanese : Potential role of genetic endowment in the success of elite Kenyan endurance runners
Kunimasa, Y., Sano, K., Oda, T., Nicol, C., Komi, Paavo V., & Ishikawa, M. (2022). Muscle-tendon architecture in Kenyans and Japanese : Potential role of genetic endowment in the success of elite Kenyan endurance runners. Acta Physiologica, 235(2), Article e13821. https://doi.org/10.1111/apha.13821
Published inActa Physiologica
© 2022 The Authors. Acta Physiologica published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Scandinavian Physiological Society.
Aim The specificity of muscle-tendon and foot architecture of elite Kenyan middle- and long-distance runners has been found to contribute to their superior running performance. To investigate the respective influence of genetic endowment and training on these characteristics, we compared leg and foot segmental lengths as well as muscle-tendon architecture of Kenyans and Japanese males (i) from infancy to adulthood and (ii) non-athletes versus elite runners. Methods The 676 participants were divided according to their nationality (Kenyans and Japanese), age (nine different age groups for non-athletes) and performance level in middle- and long-distance races (non-athlete, non-elite and elite adult runners). Shank and Achilles tendon (AT) lengths, medial gastrocnemius (MG) fascicle length, pennation angle and muscle thickness, AT moment arm (MAAT), and foot lever ratio were measured. Results Above 8 years old, Kenyans had a longer shank and AT, shorter fascicle, greater pennation angle, thinner MG muscle as well as longer MAAT, with lower foot lever ratio than age-matched Japanese. Among adults of different performance levels and independently of the performance level, Kenyans had longer shank, AT and MAAT, thinner MG muscle thickness, and lower foot lever ratio than Japanese. The decrease in MG fascicle length and increase pennation angle observed for the adult Japanese with the increase in performance level resulted in a lack of difference between elite Kenyans and Japanese. Conclusion The specificity of muscle-tendon and foot architecture of elite Kenyan runners could result from genetic endowment and contribute to the dominance of Kenyans in middle- and long-distance races. ...
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons Ltd; Scandinavian Physiological Society
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Additional information about fundingThis work was supported by Open Partnership Joint Projects of JSPS Bilateral Joint Research Projects (2015– 2017) and by MEXT/JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 23700756, 26702026, 15KK0261.
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