New article on skeletal muscle mitochondrial inertia online

The article from our colleague Rodrigo Mancilla is now online available and will be published in  JCI Insight with the following title: “Skeletal muscle mitochondrial inertia associates with carnitine acetyltransferase activity and physical function in humans”.

The full article can be found here: https://doi.org/10.1172/jci.insight.163855

Read the abstract below.

Background: At the onset of exercise, the speed at which PCr decreases towards a new steady state (PCr on-kinetics), reflects the readiness to activate mitochondrial ATP synthesis, which is secondary to Acetyl-CoA availability in skeletal muscle. We hypothesized that PCr on-kinetics are slower in metabolically compromised and older individuals, and associated with low carnitine acetyl-transferase (CrAT) protein activity and compromised physical function.

Methods: We applied 31P-Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) to assess PCr on-kinetics in two cohorts of human volunteers. Cohort 1: patients with type 2 diabetes, obese, lean trained and untrained individuals. Cohort 2: young and older individuals with normal physical activity and older trained. Previous results of CrAT protein activity and acetylcarnitine content in muscle tissue were used to explore the underlying mechanisms of PCr on-kinetics, along with various markers of physical function.

Results: PCr on-kinetics were significantly slower in metabolically compromised and older individuals (indicating mitochondrial inertia) as compared to young and older trained volunteers, regardless of in vivo skeletal muscle oxidative capacity (P<0.001). Mitochondrial inertia correlated with reduced CrAT protein activity, low acetylcarnitine content and also with functional outcomes (P<0.001).

Conclusion: PCr on-kinetics are significantly slower in metabolically compromised and older individuals with normal physical activity compared to young and older trained, regardless of in vivo skeletal muscle oxidative capacity, indicating greater mitochondrial inertia. Thus, PCr on-kinetics are a currently unexplored signature of skeletal muscle mitochondrial metabolism, tightly linked to functional outcomes. Skeletal muscle mitochondrial inertia might emerge as a target of intervention to improve physical function.

Clinicaltrials: gov: NCT01298375 and clinicaltrials.gov: NCT03666013.

Funding: R.M and M.H were granted with an EFSD/Lilly grant from the European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes (EFSD). V.S was supported by an ERC staring grant (Grant no. 759161) “MRS in Diabetes”.

Keywords: Aging; Diabetes; Metabolism; Mitochondria; Skeletal muscle.