Expression of mitochondrial fission and fusion regulatory proteins in skeletal muscle during chronic use and disuse


  • This work was supported by a Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) grant


Introduction: The mitochondrial network within cells is mediated by fission and fusion processes. Methods: We investigated the expression of the proteins responsible for these events during conditions of altered oxidative capacity. Results: With chronic contractile activity, the mitochondrial reticulum increased in size, along with concomitant increases in the fusion proteins Opa1 and Mfn2 (by 36% and 53%; P < 0.05). When we induced muscle disuse through denervation for 7 days, fragmented mitochondria were observed, along with significant decreases in the expression of Mfn2 and Opa1 (by 84% and 70%). To assess the effects of aging on mitochondrial morphology, young (5 month) and aged (35 month) Fisher 344 Brown Norway rats were used. Aged animals also possessed smaller mitochondria and displayed increased levels of fission proteins. Conclusions: Chronic muscle use increases the ratio of fusion:fission proteins, leading to reticular mitochondria, whereas muscle disuse and aging result in a decrease in this ratio, culminating in fragmented organelles. Muscle Nerve 48: 963–970, 2013