Athletes with sickle cell traits are at more risk to collapse: here's why

May 09, 2019

TAMPA, Fla. (May 9, 2019)- A recent study published in Southern Medical Journal, led by researchers from the University of South Florida identifies a genetic variation known to affect sickle cell disease symptomology. This finding may explain why some collegiate football players with sickle cell trait (SCT) experience adverse clinical outcomes during periods of extreme physical exertion and others do not.

This double-blind study is the first of its kind to test the hypothesis that genetic markers associated with the production of fetal hemoglobin are associated with symptom variation in a sample of collegiate football players. Results also showed that there are significant associations between symptomology and player body mass index (BMI), and weight and symptomology.

The study research team, which includes Arizona State University, genotyped collegiate athletes with SCT for single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) previously shown to affect levels of fetal hemoglobin and asked the athletes to complete a survey about the presence of symptoms associated with exercise collapse associated with sickle cell trait, and to compare themselves with their peers without SCT.

"We know of at least 22 sickle cell trait athletes that have died due to complications associated with their 'benign' condition. These individuals were young and in excellent health," said Lorena Madrigal, Ph.D., Professor of Anthropology at University of South Florida. "The results of this study show significant associations between SNPs and symptoms, and between one SNP and greater body weight and body mass index. It is our hope that this information will provide parents, coaching and medical staff a better understanding of the more complex interactions among the sickle cell gene and the modifiers that affect it."

Clinicians have known that sickle cell disease patients differ in their clinical symptomology. They also know that better outcomes are due to higher levels of fetal hemoglobin. These study results demonstrate the same to be true for sickle cell trait individuals, particularly for football players. Additional testing on larger sample of athletes is planned for the future.
-end-


University of South Florida (USF Innovation)

Related Genetic Variation Articles from Brightsurf:

How genetic variation gives rise to differences in mathematical ability
DNA variation in a gene called ROBO1 is associated with early anatomical differences in a brain region that plays a key role in quantity representation, potentially explaining how genetic variability might shape mathematical performance in children, according to a study published October 22nd in the open-access journal PLOS Biology by Michael Skeide of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, and colleagues.

Genetic variation unlikely to influence COVID-19 morbidity and mortality
A comprehensive search of genetic variation databases has revealed no significant differences across populations and ethnic groups in seven genes associated with viral entry of SARS-CoV-2.

Researchers find pronghorn exhibit little genetic variation despite landscape obstacles
While previous research shows landscape features such as major highways restrict the daily and seasonal movements of pronghorn and increase mortality risk, this study found little, if any, evidence that these barriers affect genetic connectivity among Wyoming pronghorn.

gnomAD Consortium releases its first major studies of human genetic variation
For the last eight years, the Genome Aggregation Database (gnomAD) Consortium (and its predecessor, the Exome Aggregation Consortium, or ExAC), has been working with geneticists around the world to compile and study more than 125,000 exomes and 15,000 whole genomes from populations around the world.

Individual genetic variation in immune system may affect severity of COVID-19
Genetic variability in the human immune system may affect susceptibility to, and severity of infection by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus responsible for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Genetic variation not an obstacle to gene drive strategy to control mosquitoes
New research from entomologists at UC Davis clears a potential obstacle to using CRISPR-Cas9 'gene drive' technology to control mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever and Zika.

Genetic variation gives mussels a chance to adapt to climate change
Existing genetic variation in natural populations of Mediterranean mussels allows them to adapt to declining pH levels in seawater caused by carbon emissions.

A genetic tug-of-war between the sexes begets variation
In species with sexual reproduction, no two individuals are alike and scientists have long struggled to understand why there is so much genetic variation.

Scientists identify genetic variation linked to severity of ALS
A discovery made several years ago in a lab researching asthma at Wake Forest School of Medicine may now have implications for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a disease with no known cure and only two FDA-approved drugs to treat its progression and severity.

Genetic variation contributes to individual differences in pleasure
Differences in how our brains respond when we're anticipating a financial reward are due, in part, to genetic differences, according to research with identical and fraternal twins published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Read More: Genetic Variation News and Genetic Variation Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.