Adult Skeletal Muscle Deletion of Mitofusin 1 and 2 Impedes Exercise Performance and Training Capacity.

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Journal of Applied Physiology





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Endurance exercise has been shown to be a positive regulator of skeletal muscle metabolic function. Changes in mitochondrial dynamics (fusion and fission) have been shown to influence mitochondrial oxidative capacity. We therefore tested whether genetic disruption of mitofusins (Mfns) affected exercise performance in adult skeletal muscle. We generated adult-inducible skeletal muscle-specific Mfn1 (iMS-Mfn1KO), Mfn2 (iMS-Mfn2KO), and Mfn1/2 (iMS-MfnDKO) knockout mice. We assessed exercise capacity by performing a treadmill time to exhaustion stress test before deletion and up to 8 wk after deletion. Analysis of either the iMS-Mfn1KO or the iMS-Mfn2KO did not reveal an effect on exercise capacity. However, analysis of iMS-MfnDKO animals revealed a progressive reduction in exercise performance. We measured individual electron transport chain (ETC) complex activity and observed a reduction in ETC activity in both the subsarcolemmal and intermyofibrillar mitochondrial fractions specifically for NADH dehydrogenase (complex I) and cytochrome-c oxidase (complex IV), which was associated with a decrease in ETC subunit expression for these complexes. We also tested whether voluntary exercise training would prevent the decrease in exercise capacity observed in iMS-MfnDKO animals (n = 10/group). However, after 8 wk of training we did not observe any improvement in exercise capacity or ETC subunit parameters in iMS-MfnDKO animals. These data suggest that the decrease in exercise capacity observed in the iMS-MfnDKO animals is in part the result of impaired ETC subunit expression and ETC complex activity. Taken together, these results provide strong evidence that mitochondrial fusion in adult skeletal muscle is important for exercise performance.


Electron transport chain; Exercise; Mitochondria; Mitofusin; Skeletal muscle


Biomechanics | Medical Genetics | Musculoskeletal, Neural, and Ocular Physiology | Musculoskeletal System



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