Training-Induced Changes in Mitochondrial Content and Respiratory Function in Human Skeletal Muscle

Cesare Granata, Nicholas A. Jamnick, David J. Bishop

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

100 Citations (Scopus)


A sedentary lifestyle has been linked to a number of metabolic disorders that have been associated with sub-optimal mitochondrial characteristics and an increased risk of premature death. Endurance training can induce an increase in mitochondrial content and/or mitochondrial functional qualities, which are associated with improved health and well-being and longer life expectancy. It is therefore important to better define how manipulating key parameters of an endurance training intervention can influence the content and functionality of the mitochondrial pool. This review focuses on mitochondrial changes taking place following a series of exercise sessions (training-induced mitochondrial adaptations), providing an in-depth analysis of the effects of exercise intensity and training volume on changes in mitochondrial protein synthesis, mitochondrial content and mitochondrial respiratory function. We provide evidence that manipulation of different exercise training variables promotes specific and diverse mitochondrial adaptations. Specifically, we report that training volume may be a critical factor affecting changes in mitochondrial content, whereas relative exercise intensity is an important determinant of changes in mitochondrial respiratory function. As a consequence, a dissociation between training-induced changes in mitochondrial content and mitochondrial respiratory function is often observed. We also provide evidence that exercise-induced changes are not necessarily predictive of training-induced adaptations, we propose possible explanations for the above discrepancies and suggestions for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1809-1828
Number of pages20
JournalSports Medicine
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018

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