Activation of the PPAR/PGC-1alpha pathway prevents a bioenergetic deficit and effectively improves a mitochondrial myopathy phenotype

Cell Metab. 2008 Sep;8(3):249-56. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2008.07.006.


Neuromuscular disorders with defects in the mitochondrial ATP-generating system affect a large number of children and adults worldwide, but remain without treatment. We used a mouse model of mitochondrial myopathy, caused by a cytochrome c oxidase deficiency, to evaluate the effect of induced mitochondrial biogenesis on the course of the disease. Mitochondrial biogenesis was induced either by transgenic expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma) coactivator alpha (PGC-1alpha) in skeletal muscle or by administration of bezafibrate, a PPAR panagonist. Both strategies successfully stimulated residual respiratory capacity in muscle tissue. Mitochondrial proliferation resulted in an enhanced OXPHOS capacity per muscle mass. As a consequence, ATP levels were conserved resulting in a delayed onset of the myopathy and a markedly prolonged life span. Thus, induction of mitochondrial biogenesis through pharmacological or metabolic modulation of the PPAR/PGC-1alpha pathway promises to be an effective therapeutic approach for mitochondrial disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Retracted Publication

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Bezafibrate / administration & dosage
  • Cytochrome-c Oxidase Deficiency / drug therapy*
  • Cytochrome-c Oxidase Deficiency / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Energy Metabolism / drug effects
  • Energy Metabolism / genetics
  • Female
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Mitochondria, Muscle / drug effects
  • Mitochondria, Muscle / genetics
  • Mitochondria, Muscle / metabolism*
  • Mitochondrial Myopathies / drug therapy*
  • Mitochondrial Myopathies / genetics*
  • Mitochondrial Myopathies / pathology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • PPAR gamma / agonists
  • PPAR gamma / genetics
  • PPAR gamma / metabolism*
  • Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor Gamma Coactivator 1-alpha
  • Phenotype
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Survival Rate
  • Trans-Activators / genetics
  • Trans-Activators / metabolism*
  • Transcription Factors
  • Transgenes


  • PPAR gamma
  • Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor Gamma Coactivator 1-alpha
  • Ppargc1a protein, mouse
  • Trans-Activators
  • Transcription Factors
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Bezafibrate