Objective: To investigate protein polymorphism of the haptoglobin (Hp) and the relationship between Hp phenotypes and anthropometric or biochemical parameters in elite Korean male athletes. Materials and Methods: Serum samples were collected from 120 Korean male elite athletes. The Hp phenotypes were determined by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, followed by peroxidase staining. Then anthropometric or biochemical measurements were made: body composition, blood pressures, ventilatory responses, cholesterol (total, LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol), triglyceride, apolipoprotein A1, lipoprotein (a), creatine phosphokinase and lactate dehydrogenase. Results: The gene frequencies of the Hp1-1, Hp2-1 and Hp2-2 phenotypes in Korean male athletes were 12, 37 and 51%, respectively; this polymorphism was significantly associated with the VO2max index in the athletes. An excess of the Hp1 allele was also observed in marathon runners compared with the other sporting activities, although it did not have any statistical significance. Conclusion: Hp polymorphism exists in elite Korean male athletes and Hp phenotype may be a useful marker for endurance performance in these male athletes.

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