Age-associated declines in mitochondrial biogenesis and protein quality control factors are minimized by exercise training

Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2012 Jul 15;303(2):R127-34. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00337.2011. Epub 2012 May 9.


A decline in mitochondrial biogenesis and mitochondrial protein quality control in skeletal muscle is a common finding in aging, but exercise training has been suggested as a possible cure. In this report, we tested the hypothesis that moderate-intensity exercise training could prevent the age-associated deterioration in mitochondrial biogenesis in the gastrocnemius muscle of Wistar rats. Exercise training, consisting of treadmill running at 60% of the initial Vo(2max), reversed or attenuated significant age-associated (detrimental) declines in mitochondrial mass (succinate dehydrogenase, citrate synthase, cytochrome-c oxidase-4, mtDNA), SIRT1 activity, AMPK, pAMPK, and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1-α, UCP3, and the Lon protease. Exercise training also decreased the gap between young and old animals in other measured parameters, including nuclear respiratory factor 1, mitochondrial transcription factor A, fission-1, mitofusin-1, and polynucleotide phosphorylase levels. We conclude that exercise training can help minimize detrimental skeletal muscle aging deficits by improving mitochondrial protein quality control and biogenesis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology
  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Mitochondria, Muscle / metabolism*
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Models, Animal
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Nuclear Respiratory Factor 1 / metabolism
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Fis1 protein, rat
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Mfn1 protein, rat
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Nuclear Respiratory Factor 1
  • Tfam protein, rat
  • Transcription Factors