Morphological and functional remodelling of the neuromuscular junction by skeletal muscle PGC-1α

Nat Commun. 2014 Apr 1;5:3569. doi: 10.1038/ncomms4569.


The neuromuscular junction (NMJ) exhibits high morphological and functional plasticity. In the mature muscle, the relative levels of physical activity are the major determinants of NMJ function. Classically, motor neuron-mediated activation patterns of skeletal muscle have been thought of as the major drivers of NMJ plasticity and the ensuing fibre-type determination in muscle. Here we use muscle-specific transgenic animals for the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ co-activator 1α (PGC-1α) as a genetic model for trained mice to elucidate the contribution of skeletal muscle to activity-induced adaptation of the NMJ. We find that muscle-specific expression of PGC-1α promotes a remodelling of the NMJ, even in the absence of increased physical activity. Importantly, these plastic changes are not restricted to post-synaptic structures, but extended to modulation of presynaptic cell morphology and function. Therefore, our data indicate that skeletal muscle significantly contributes to the adaptation of the NMJ subsequent to physical activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Animals
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Muscle, Skeletal / anatomy & histology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Neuromuscular Junction / anatomy & histology
  • Neuromuscular Junction / physiology*
  • Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor Gamma Coactivator 1-alpha
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*


  • Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor Gamma Coactivator 1-alpha
  • Ppargc1a protein, mouse
  • Transcription Factors