Association analysis of the ACTN3 R577X polymorphism with passive muscle stiffness and muscle strain injury

N. Miyamoto*, E. Miyamoto-Mikami, K. Hirata, N. Kimura, N. Fuku

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Passive muscle stiffness is considered to be a major factor affecting joint flexibility and is thought to relate to the occurrence of muscle strain injury. In skinned muscle fiber experiments, the R577X polymorphism of the α-actinin-3 gene (ACTN3) has been associated with passive muscle stiffness. Our primary purpose was to clarify whether the ACTN3 R577X polymorphism influences passive stiffness of human muscle in vivo. We also examined whether the ACTN3 R577X polymorphism is associated with the occurrence of hamstring strain injury. Seventy-six healthy young male subjects were genotyped for the ACTN3 R577X (rs1815739) polymorphism. Shear modulus (an index of stiffness) of each hamstring muscle (biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus) was assessed using ultrasound shear wave elastography, and history of hamstring strain injury was collected via a questionnaire. The muscle shear moduli of the semitendinosus and semimembranosus were significantly higher in R-allele (RR + RX genotype) carriers than in XX genotype carriers, whereas the shear modulus of the biceps femoris did not differ among the ACTN3 R577X genotypes. Frequency of past hamstring strain injury also did not differ between the 3 genotypes nor between the R-allele and XX genotype carriers. This study indicates that RR and RX genotypes of the ACTN3 R577X polymorphism (corresponding to the presence of α-actinin-3 in type II muscle fibers) are associated with increased passive muscle stiffness of the human hamstring in vivo. However, this altered mechanical property might not affect the risk of hamstring muscle strain injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1209-1214
Number of pages6
JournalScandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Mar
Externally publishedYes


  • elastography
  • genotype
  • hamstring
  • joint flexibility
  • α-actinin-3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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