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Front. Physiol. | doi: 10.3389/fphys.2019.01088

Regular Endurance Exercise Promotes Fission, Mitophagy and Oxidative Phosphorylation in Human Skeletal Muscle Independently of Age

 Estelle Balan1, Céline Schwalm1, Damien Naslain1, Henri Nielens1,  Marc Francaux1 and  Louise Deldicque1*
  • 1Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium

This study investigated whether regular endurance exercise maintains basal mitophagy and mitochondrial function during aging. Mitochondrial proteins and total mRNA were isolated from vastus lateralis biopsies (n=33) of young sedentary (YS), old sedentary (OS), young active (YA) and old active (OA) men. Markers for mitophagy, fission, fusion, mitogenesis and mitochondrial metabolism were assessed using qRT-PCR, Western blot and immunofluorescence staining. Independently of age, fission protein Fis1 was higher in active vs sedentary subjects (+80%; P<0.05). Mitophagy protein PARKIN was more elevated in OA than in OS (+145%; P=0.0026). mRNA expression of Beclin1 and Gabarap, involved in autophagosomes synthesis, were lower in OS compared to YS and OA (P<0.05). Fusion and oxidative phosphorylation proteins were globally more elevated in the active groups (P<0.05), while COx activity was only higher in OA than in OS (P=0.032). Transcriptional regulation of mitogenesis did not vary with age or exercise. In conclusion, physically active lifestyle seems to participate in the maintenance of lifelong mitochondrial quality control by increasing fission and mitophagy.

Keywords: Mitochondria, Fusion, OxPhos, mitogenesis, physical activity, endurance exercise

Received: 12 Apr 2019; Accepted: 07 Aug 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Balan, Schwalm, Naslain, Nielens, Francaux and Deldicque. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Louise Deldicque, Catholic University of Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, louise.deldicque@uclouvain.be