Combined training enhances skeletal muscle mitochondrial oxidative capacity independent of age

Brian A. Irving, Ian R Lanza, Gregory C. Henderson, Rajesh R. Rao, Bruce M. Spiegelman, K Sreekumaran Nair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

44 Scopus citations


Context: Skeletal muscle from sedentary older adults exhibits reduced mitochondrial abundance and oxidative capacity. Objective: The primary objective was to determine whether 8 weeks of combined training (CT) has a more robust effect than endurance training (ET) or resistance training (RT) on mitochondrial physiology in healthy young (18-30 years) and older (≥65 years) adults. Intervention: Thirty-four young and 31 older adults were randomly assigned to 8 weeks of ET, RT, and control/CT. Control subjects completed 8 weeks of no exercise (control) followed by 8 weeks of CT. Body composition, skeletal muscle strength, and peak oxygen uptake were measured before and after the intervention. Vastus lateralis muscle biopsy samples were obtained before and 48 hours after the intervention. Mitochondrial physiology was evaluated by high-resolution respirometry and expression of mitochondrial proteins and transcription factors by quantitative PCR and immunoblotting. Results: ET and CT significantly increased oxidative capacity and expression of mitochondrial proteins and transcription factors. All training modalitiesimproved body composition, cardiorespiratory fitness, and skeletal muscle strength. CT induced the most robust improvements in mitochondria-related outcomes and physical characteristics despite lower training volumes for the ET and RT components. Importantly, most of the adaptations to training occurred independent of age. Conclusion: Collectively, these results demonstrate that both ET and CT increase muscle mitochondrial abundance and capacity although CT induced the most robust improvements in the outcomes measured. In conclusion, CT provides a robust exercise regimen to improve muscle mitochondrial outcomes and physical characteristics independent of age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1654-1663
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

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