Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Association between angiotensin-converting enzyme gene polymorphism and competitive anxiety in Tunisian athlete

  • 134 Accesses

  • 1 Citations



The present study attempted to test whether the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) genotypes can be associated with precompetitive anxiety that can be potentially used as predictors of athletic performance.


Eighty-seven track and field athletes (47 males, 40 females; age 20.55 ± 2.22 years; body mass = 77.5 ± 7.1 kg, height = 170.7 ± 5.4 cm) competing at an international level voluntarily participated in this study. The athletes were prospectively classified into two groups according to their genetic polymorphism to physical efforts: endurance group (allele I, n = 48) and power group (allele D, n = 39). Suggested, this genetic predisposition was specifically associated with athlete’s success in sports. Precompetitive anxiety was assessed before competition, and the ACE gene polymorphism was examined by polymerase chain reaction.


It was found that the score performances were associated with psychological factors. In carriers of allele I (related to the endurance), the self-confidence explained 18 % of the variance of score performance (R = 0.46, R 2 = 0.21, adjusted R 2 = 0.15; F = 3.83, p < 0.02). In carriers of allele D (related to the power) (R = 0.30, R 2 = 0.09, adjusted R 2 = 0.01; F = 1.19, p < 0.33), any factors of anxiety can explain the variance of performance.


The current study is the first to interpret the relationship between the ACE gene and somatic anxiety, cognitive anxiety and self-confidence in sportsmen and has provided evidence of association between ACE I/D polymorphism predisposition and success in distance runners. Taking into account the effects of multiple comparisons, this result should be interpreted with caution and needs confirmation in a larger sample.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. 1.

    Keikha BM, Yusof SM, Jourkesh M (2015) The relationship between pre-competition state anxiety components and mood state sub-scales scores and the result of among college athletes through temporal patterning. Int J Sports Sci 5(1):8–15

  2. 2.

    Golby J, Sheard M, Lavallee D (2003) A cognitive-behavioral analysis of mental toughness in national rugby league football teams. Percept Mot Skills 2003(96):455–462

  3. 3.

    Jones G, Hardy L (1990) Stress in sport: experiences of some elite performers. In: Jones G, Hardy L (eds) Stress and performance in sport. Wiley, Chichester, pp 247–277

  4. 4.

    Martens R, Burton D, Vealey RS, Bump LA, Smith DE (1990) Development and validation of the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2. In: Martens R, Vealey RS, Burton D (eds) Competitive anxiety in sport. Human Kinetics, Champaign, IL, pp 117–190

  5. 5.

    Neil R, Mellalieu SD, Hanton S (2006) Psychological skills usage and the competitive anxiety response as a function of skill level in rugby union. J Sports Sci Med 5(3):415–423

  6. 6.

    Pokrywka A, Kaliszewski P, Majorczyk E, Zembroń-Łacny A (2013) Genes in sport and doping. Biol Sport 30:155–161

  7. 7.

    Giuseppe L, Umile GL, Nicola M (2010) Genetics and sports. Br Med Bull 93:27–47

  8. 8.

    Montgomery HE, Marshall R, Hemingway H, Myerson S, Clarkson P, Dollery C (1998) Human gene for physical performance. Nature 393:221–222

  9. 9.

    Myerson S, Hemingway H, Budget R, Martin J, Humphries S, Montgomery H (1999) Human angiotensin I-converting enzyme gene and endurance performance. J Appl Physiol 87:1313–1316

  10. 10.

    Rigat B, Hubert C, Alhenc-Gelas F, Cambien F, Corvol P, Soubrier F (1990) An insertion/deletion polymorphism in the angiotensin-1-converting enzyme gene accounting for half the variance of serum enzyme levels. J Clin Invest 86:1343–1346

  11. 11.

    Woods D, Hickman M, Jamshidi Y, Brull D, Vassiliou Jones A, Humphries S, Montgomery H (2001) Elite swimmers and the D allele of the ACE I/D polymorphism. Hum Genet 108:230–232

  12. 12.

    Okuyama S, Sakagawa T, Chaki S, Imagawa Y, Ichiki T, Inagami T (1999) Anxiety-like behavior in mice lacking the angiotensin II type-2 receptor. Brain Res 821:150–159

  13. 13.

    Ichiki T, Labosky PA, Shiota C, Okuyama S, Imagawa Y, Fogo A, Niimura F, Ichikawa I, Hogan BL, Inagami T (1995) Effects on blood pressure and exploratory behaviour of mice lacking angiotensin II type-2 receptor. Nature 377:748–750

  14. 14.

    Gard PR, Mandy A, Sutcliffe MA (1999) Evidence of a possible role of altered angiotensin function in the treatment, but not etiology, of depression. Biol Psychiatry 45:1030–1034

  15. 15.

    Vuckovic A, Cohen BM, Zubenko GS (1991) The use of captopril in treatment-resistant depression: an open trial. J Clin Psychopharmacol 11:395–396

  16. 16.

    Arinami T, Li L, Mitsushio H, Itokawa M, Hamaguchi H, Toru M (1996) An insertion/deletion polymorphism in the angiotensin converting enzyme gene is associated with both brain substance P contents and affective disorders. Biol Psychiatry 40:1122–1127

  17. 17.

    Pauls J, Bandelow B, Ruther E, Kornhuber J (2000) Polymorphism of the gene of angiotensin converting enzyme: lack of association with mood disorder. J Neural Transm 107:1361–1366

  18. 18.

    Lesch KP, Bengel D, Heils A, Sabol SZ, Greenberg BD, Petri S, Benjamin J, Muller CR, Hamer DH, Murphy DL (1996) Association of anxiety-related traits with a polymorphism in the serotonin transporter gene regulatory region. Science 274:1527–1531

  19. 19.

    Znazen H, Chatara M, Hammoudi S, Briki W, Butovskaya M, Lazebny O, Souissi N (2016) The relative contributions of genetic predispositions on the determination of personality trait related to optimal performance medicina dello sport (in press)

  20. 20.

    Wiggins MS (1998) Anxiety intensity and direction: preperformance temporal patterns and expectations in athletes. J Appl Sport Psychol 10(2):201–211

  21. 21.

    Kais K, Raudsepp L (2005) Intensity and direction of competitive state anxiety, self-confidence and athletic performance. Kinesiology 37(1):13–20

  22. 22.

    Sambrook J, Fritsch EF, Maniatis T (1989) Molecular cloning. Cold Spring Harbor. Sci Sports Exerc 45:892–900

  23. 23.

    Eysenck HJ, Eysenck SBG (1968) Manual for the Eysenck Personality Inventory. Educational and Industrial Testing Service, San Diego

  24. 24.

    Zeqing W, Jun Y, Hongwu Z (2003) Correlation between servicemen personalities and the polymorphism of ace gene. Med J Chin People Lib Army 7:16

  25. 25.

    McCann SC, Murphy SM, Raedeke TD (1992) The effect of performance setting and individual differences on the anxiety-performance relationship for elite cyclists. Anx Stress Int J 5(2):177–187

  26. 26.

    Woodman T, Hardy L (2003) The relative impact of cognitive anxiety and self-confidence upon sport performance: a meta-analysis. J Sports Sci 21:443–457

  27. 27.

    Parfitt G, Pates J (1999) The effects of cognitive and somatic anxiety and self-confidence on components of performance during competition. J Sports Sci 17:351–356

  28. 28.

    Borwin B, Kristina S, Jutta P, Katharina D, Dirk W, Peter F (2010) Insertion/deletion polymorphism in the gene for angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) in panic disorder: a gender-specific effect? World J Biol Psychiatry 11:66–70

  29. 29.

    Ouyang WC, Wang YC, Hong CJ, Cheng CY, Tsai SJ (2001) Association study of angiotensin-converting enzyme gene polymorphism with schizophrenia and polydipsia. Neuropsychobiology 44:31–35

  30. 30.

    Alvarez R, Alvarez V, Lahoz CH et al (1999) Angiotensin converting enzyme and endothelial nitric oxide synthase DNA polymorphisms and late onset Alzheimer’s disease. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 67(6):733–736

  31. 31.

    Alvarez R, Terrado SN, Ortolano R et al (2000) Genetic variation in the renin-angiotensin system and athletic performance. Eur J Appl Physiol 82:117–120

  32. 32.

    Weinberg RS, Gould D (2007) Foundations of sport and exercise psychology. Human Kinetics, Champaign, IL

  33. 33.

    Paquet Y, Groslambert A, Tougne J (2008) Caractéristiques Psychologiques des coureurs qui négocient avec succès le passage des catégories Junior-Espoirs Homme en cyclisme sur route. Actes de seminaires de la FFC, Bourges

  34. 34.

    Lane M, Sewell DF, Terry PC, Bartram D, Nesti MS (1999) Confirmatory factor analysis of the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2. J Sports Sci 17:505–512

  35. 35.

    Powell K, (2009). The impact of event group and gender on the relationship between sport anxiety and performance in track and field athletes. Thesis (M.A.) abstract, The American University, 48-02, p 1261

  36. 36.

    Edwards T, Hardy L (1996) The interactive effects of intensity and direction of cognitive and somatic anxiety and self-confidence upon performance. J Sport Exerc Psychol 18:296–312

  37. 37.

    Jones G (1991) Recent developments and current issues in competitive anxiety in sport. Sport Psychol 4:152–155

Download references


No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this paper.

Author information

Correspondence to Hela Znazen.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Znazen, H., Chtara, M., Butovskaya, M. et al. Association between angiotensin-converting enzyme gene polymorphism and competitive anxiety in Tunisian athlete. Sport Sci Health 12, 233–238 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11332-016-0280-2

Download citation


  • Gene ACE
  • Pre-competitive anxiety
  • Endurance and power performances