Skeletal muscle mitochondria in the elderly: effects of physical fitness and exercise training.

Broskey, Nicholas T.; Greggio, Chiara; Boss, Andreas; Boutant, Marie; Dwyer, Andrew; Schlueter, Leopold; Hans, Didier; Gremion, Gerald; Kreis, Roland; Boesch, Chris; Canto, Carles; Amati, Francesca (2014). Skeletal muscle mitochondria in the elderly: effects of physical fitness and exercise training. The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism, 99(5), pp. 1852-1861. The Endocrine Society 10.1210/jc.2013-3983

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Context: Sarcopenia is thought to be associated with mitochondrial (M) loss. It is unclear whether the decrease in M content is consequent to aging per se or to decreased physical activity. Objectives: To examine the influence of fitness on M content and function, and to assess whether exercise could improve M function in older adults. Design and subjects: Three distinct studies were conducted: 1) a cross-sectional observation comparing M content and fitness in a large heterogeneous cohort of older adults; 2) a case-control study comparing chronically endurance-trained older adults (A) and sedentary (S) subjects matched for age and gender; 3) a 4-month exercise intervention in S. Setting: University-based clinical research center Outcomes: M volume density (Mv) was assessed by electron microscopy from vastus lateralis biopsies, electron transport chain proteins (ETC) by western blotting, mRNAs for transcription factors involved in M biogenesis by qRT-PCR and in-vivo oxidative capacity (ATPmax) by (31)P-MR spectroscopy. Peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak) was measured by GXT. Results: VO2peak was strongly correlated with Mv in eighty 60-80 yo adults. Comparison of A vs. S revealed differences in Mv, ATPmax and some ETC complexes. Finally, exercise intervention confirmed that S are able to recover Mv, ATPmax and specific transcription factors. Conclusions: These data suggest that 1) aging per se is not the primary culprit leading to M dysfunction, 2) an aerobic exercise program, even at an older age, can ameliorate the loss in skeletal muscle M content and may prevent aging muscle comorbidities and 3) the improvement of M function is all about content.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Radiology, Neuroradiology and Nuclear Medicine (DRNN) > Institute of Diagnostic, Interventional and Paediatric Radiology > DCR Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy and Methodology (AMSM)
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > BioMedical Research (DBMR) > Forschungsbereich Pavillon 52 > Abt. Magnetresonanz-Spektroskopie und Methodologie, AMSM

Graduate School:

Graduate School for Cellular and Biomedical Sciences (GCB)

UniBE Contributor:

Boss, Andreas; Kreis, Roland and Bösch, Christoph Hans


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




The Endocrine Society




Christoph Hans Boesch

Date Deposited:

24 Jul 2014 13:36

Last Modified:

19 Apr 2016 12:40

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





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