Mitochondrial Bioenergetics and Turnover during Chronic Muscle Disuse
Periods of muscle disuse promote marked mitochondrial alterations that contribute to the impaired metabolic health and degree of atrophy in the muscle. Thus, understanding the molecular underpinnings of muscle mitochondrial decline with prolonged inactivity is of considerable interest. There are translational applications to patients subjected to limb immobilization following injury, illness-induced bed rest, neuropathies, and even microgravity. Studies in these patients, as well as on various pre-clinical rodent models have elucidated the pathways involved in mitochondrial quality control, such as mitochondrial biogenesis, mitophagy, fission and fusion, and the corresponding mitochondrial derangements that underlie the muscle atrophy that ensues from inactivity. Defective organelles display altered respiratory function concurrent with increased accumulation of reactive oxygen species, which exacerbate myofiber atrophy via degradative pathways. The preservation of muscle quality and function is critical for maintaining mobility throughout the lifespan, and for the prevention of inactivity-related diseases. Exercise training is effective in preserving muscle mass by promoting favourable mitochondrial adaptations that offset the mitochondrial dysfunction, which contributes to the declines in muscle and whole-body metabolic health. This highlights the need for further investigation of the mechanisms in which mitochondria contribute to disuse-induced atrophy, as well as the specific molecular targets that can be exploited therapeutically.
Int J Mol Sci. 2021 May 13;22(10):5179. doi: 10.3390/ijms22105179. PMID: 34068411; PMCID: PMC8153634.