Human phenylethanolamine N-methyltransferase genetic polymorphisms and exercise-induced epinephrine release

Yuan Ji, Eric M. Snyder, Brooke L. Fridley, Oreste E. Salavaggione, Irene Moon, Anthony Batzler, Vivien C. Yee, Daniel J. Schaid, Michael J. Joyner, Bruce D. Johnson, Richard M. Weinshilboum

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11 Scopus citations


Phenylethanolamine N-methyltransferase (PNMT) catalyzes the synthesis of epinephrine from norepinephrine. We previously identified and functionally characterized common sequence variation in the PNMT gene. In the present study, we set out to determine whether common PNMT genetic polymorphisms might be associated with individual variation in circulating epinephrine levels during exercise in 74 Caucasian American subjects. Circulating epinephrine levels were measured in each subject at baseline and during two different levels of exercise, ∼40% and ∼75% of peak workload. The PNMT gene was resequenced with DNA from each study subject. Eight novel PNMT polymorphisms were identified, including a C319T (Arg107Cys) nonsynonymous single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and I1G(280)A, a SNP located in the first intron of the gene. The I1G(280)A SNP was significantly associated with decreased exercise-induced circulating epinephrine levels and with a decreased epinephrine-to- norepinephrine ratio. The Cys107 recombinant allozyme displayed significantly lower levels of both PNMT activity and immunoreactive protein than the wild-type allozyme after transfection into COS-1 cells, but it did not appear to be associated with level of epinephrine in these subjects. Electrophoretic mobility shift and reporter gene assays performed with the I1G(280)A SNP indicated that this polymorphism could bind nuclear proteins and might modulate gene transcription. Our studies suggest that functionally significant variant sequence in the human PNMT gene might contribute to individual variation in levels of circulating epinephrine during exercise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-332
Number of pages10
JournalPhysiological genomics
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Exercise studies
  • Functional genomics
  • Gene resequencing
  • Haplotypes
  • Nonsynonymous single nucleotide polymorphism
  • Repeated- measurements analysis
  • Single nucleotide polymorphism


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