Genetic Vs. Acquired Fitness: Cardiomyocyte Adaptations

  • Ulrik Wisløff
  • Per Magnus Haram
  • Ole Johan Kemi


The human genome was selected through natural selection to maximize fitness in the early ancestral environment, a time in which physical activity was the key for survival. Our genome has not changed much the last 100,000 years, and exercise still remains essential for optimal gene expression and avoidance of disease [1 3]. Physical inactivity is now established as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, an effect that is similar to that of high blood pressure, high levels of blood lipids, and smoking combined [4]. The human body is therefore not ideally suited for a Western lifestyle, where inactivity is the norm with a daily energy expenditure corresponding to only 38% of what our Paleolithic ancestors had [1 3]. An inactive lifestyle will therefore alter gene expression and perturb homeostasis in several organ systems towards the unphysiological end of the range and lead to complex disease scenarios such as the metabolic syndrome. In the present mini-review, we focus upon adaptations in heart function both in healthy individuals and in individuals with the metabolic syndrome and present data derived mainly from studies using appropriate animal models.


Metabolic Syndrome Exercise Training Endurance Training Maximal Oxygen Uptake Regular Exercise Training 
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Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ulrik Wisløff
    • 1
  • Per Magnus Haram
    • 2
  • Ole Johan Kemi
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Circulation and Medical ImagingNorwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway
  2. 2.Department of Surgery Institute of Clinical MedicineUniversity of TromsøTromsoNorway
  3. 3.Institute of Biomedical and Life SciencesUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowUK

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