Identification of exercise capacity QTL using association mapping in inbred mice

Sean M. Courtney, Michael P. Massett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


There are large interindividual differences in exercise capacity. It is well established that there is a genetic basis for these differences. However, the genetic factors underlying this variation are undefined. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to identify novel putative quantitative trait loci (QTL) for exercise capacity by measuring exercise capacity in inbred mice and performing genome-wide association mapping. Exercise capacity, defined as run time and work, was assessed in male mice (n 6) from 34 strains of classical and wild-derived inbred mice performing a graded treadmill test. Genome-wide association mapping was performed with an efficient mixed-model association (EMMA) algorithm to identify QTL. Exercise capacity was significantly different across strains. Run time varied by 2.7-fold between the highest running strain (C58/J) and the lowest running strain (A/J). These same strains showed a 16.5-fold difference in work. Significant associations were identified for exercise time on chromosomes 1, 2, 7, 11, and 13. The QTL interval on chromosome 2 (~168 Mb) contains one gene, Nfatc2, and overlaps with a suggestive QTL for training responsiveness in humans. These results provide phenotype data on the widest range of inbred strains tested thus far and indicate that genetic background significantly influences exercise capacity. Furthermore, the novel QTLs identified in the current study provide new targets for investigating the underlying mechanisms for variation in exercise capacity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)948-955
Number of pages8
JournalPhysiological Genomics
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 2 2012


  • Quantitative trait loci
  • Single nucleotide polymorphism
  • Treadmill running
  • Wild-derived inbred strains


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