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Aerobic Exercise Training in Patients With mtDNA-Related Mitochondrial Myopathy

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In patients with mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutation, a pathogenic mtDNA mutation is heteroplasmically distributed among tissues. The ratio between wild-type and mutated mtDNA copies determines the mtDNA mutation load of the tissue, which correlates inversively with oxidative capacity of the tissue. In patients with mtDNA mutation, the mutation load is often very high in skeletal muscle compared to other tissues. Additionally, skeletal muscle can increase its oxygen demand up to 100-fold from rest to exercise, which is unmatched by any other tissue. Thus, exercise intolerance is the most common symptom in patients with mtDNA mutation. The impaired oxidative capacity in skeletal muscle in patients with mtDNA mutation results in limitation in physical capacity that interferes with daily activities and impairs quality of life. Additionally, patients with mitochondrial disease due to mtDNA mutation often live a sedentary lifestyle, which further impair oxidative capacity and exercise tolerance. Since aerobic exercise training increase mitochondrial function and volume density in healthy individuals, studies have investigated if aerobic training could be used to counteract the progressive exercise intolerance in patients with mtDNA mutation. Overall studies investigating the effect of aerobic training in patients with mtDNA mutation have shown that aerobic training is an efficient way to improve oxidative capacity in this condition, and aerobic training seems to be safe even for patients with high mtDNA mutation in skeletal muscle.

Original languageEnglish
Article number349
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Volume11
Pages (from-to)349
ISSN1664-042X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 May 2020

    Research areas

  • mitochondrial DNA, mitochondrial myopathies, oxidative capacity, training, treatment

ID: 61137081