Int J Sports Med 2017; 38(14): 1111-1116
DOI: 10.1055/s-0043-120345
Genetics & Molecular Biology
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Longer Telomere Length in Elite Master Sprinters: Relationship to Performance and Body Composition

Herbert Gustavo Simoes*
1   Universidade Católica de Brasília - UCB, Graduate Program in Physical Education, Brasília, Brazil
Caio Victor Sousa*
1   Universidade Católica de Brasília - UCB, Graduate Program in Physical Education, Brasília, Brazil
Thiago dos Santos Rosa
1   Universidade Católica de Brasília - UCB, Graduate Program in Physical Education, Brasília, Brazil
Samuel da Silva Aguiar
1   Universidade Católica de Brasília - UCB, Graduate Program in Physical Education, Brasília, Brazil
Lysleine Alves Deus
1   Universidade Católica de Brasília - UCB, Graduate Program in Physical Education, Brasília, Brazil
Erica Carine Campos Caldas Rosa
2   Universidade de Brasilia, Graduate Program in Health Sciences, Laboratório de Farmacologia Molecular, BRASILIA, Brazil
Angelica Amorim Amato
2   Universidade de Brasilia, Graduate Program in Health Sciences, Laboratório de Farmacologia Molecular, BRASILIA, Brazil
Rosangela Vieira Andrade
3   Universidade Católica de Brasília - UCB, Graduate Program in Genomic Science and Biotechnology, Brasília, Brazil
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

accepted 14 September 2017

Publication Date:
03 November 2017 (online)


Emergent evidence suggests that the long-term healthy lifestyle of master athletes may attenuate aging. We compared telomere length (TL) of high-level master sprinters and non-athlete age-matched controls, and analyzed the relationships of TL with performance and body fat. Elite master sprinters (n=11; aged 50.1±9.2yrs) and healthy untrained controls (n=10; aged 45.4±10.9yrs) had blood samples collected for biochemical and biomolecular analyses. Master sprinters had longer TL, lower body fat and BMI, and a better lipid profile than age-matched controls (p<0.05). A large effect size was verified comparing TL between athletes vs. controls (Cohen’s d=1.039), with a significant negative correlation between TL and performance decline per decade (r=−0.624, p<0.01) and a positive correlation of TL and actual performance level (r=0.641, p<0.01). In conclusion, TL of elite master sprinters was longer than their untrained peers, and seems to be not only a marker of health status, but also an indicator of sports longevity since both actual performance level and its decrease over years were related to TL. Further research might assess the TL of elite master endurance athletes for comparison with sprinters, and also investigate the underlying mechanisms by which the attenuation of telomere shortening occurs in master athletes.

* These authors contributed equally to this work

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