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Maratona, che importanza hanno i geni?

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Uno studio dell’Università Camilo José Cela di Madrid, pubblicato sulla rivista Plos One, ha individuato sette geni chiave che proteggono i muscoli durante la corsa e aiutano così a tagliare il traguardo in maniera migliore.

In futuro tali geni potranno essere usati per creare degli allenamenti personalizzati per gli atleti, in base al loro DNA.

«Correre la maratona richiede approssimativamente 30.000 falcate, con le gambe che a ogni passo assorbono fino a tre volte il peso corporeo del corridore», spiegano i ricercatori spagnoli.

A lungo andare, la contrazione continua dei muscoli delle gambe può portare a un progressivo deterioramento delle loro fibre, le cui principali conseguenze sono, l’evidente perdita di forza e il rilascio di proteine da parte delle fibre muscolari danneggiate.

«Una maggiore concentrazione di queste proteine nel plasma significa che c’è stato un danno muscolare e dunque più affaticamento – aggiungono gli esperti – ma potrebbe essere collegato anche a problemi più importanti, come un danno renale acuto dovuto proprio all’accumulo delle proteine dei muscoli nei tubuli renali».

Perché a parità di allenamento, alcuni maratoneti arrivano a fine gara con un livello minimo di deterioramento, mentre altri lo fanno con forti dolori muscolari? A quanto pare, la differenza si trova nel DNA.

I ricercatori lo hanno scoperto esaminando il genoma di 71 maratoneti esperti, focalizzando l’attenzione su sette geni chiave che studi precedenti avevano legato in qualche modo alla salute muscolare.

Confrontando i profili genetici degli atleti con i livelli di proteine nel sangue e le performance post gara, è emerso che avere i geni giusti può davvero ridurre il danno muscolare dovuto alla corsa. «Nel prossimo futuro – commentano i ricercatori – i maratoneti potranno valutare il loro profilo genetico per sapere se sono pronti per la gara», ma questa comunque non potrà essere una scusa per evitare la competizione. Avere un profilo genetico sfavorevole significa soltanto che «bisogna fare un allenamento più mirato per preparare i muscoli alla sfida».

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