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Rechnitzer Lecture

Eleventh Annual Peter A. Rechnitzer Lecture

Age, Exercise and Adaptation: The Mitochondria Link

KE Conley, PhD
Professor of Physiology and Biophysics
in the Muscle Metabolism & Systems Biology Laboratory,
Department of Radiology, University of Washington Medical Center.

Monday May 16, 2005
4:00PM
Rm 35 South Valley Building


conley

KE Conley, PhD
Professor of Physiology and Biophysics
in the Muscle Metabolism & Systems Biology Laboratory,
Department of Radiology, University of Washington Medical Center.

Dr Conley is currently Professor of Physiology and Biophysics in the Muscle Metabolism & Systems Biology Laboratory, Department of Radiology, University of Washington Medical Center. Dr. Conley’s research group examines the relationship between muscle contractile properties and the metabolic organization within muscle across species, including humans. A recent research focus and the focus of this lecture titled “Age, Exercise and Adaptation: The Mitochondria Link” presents evidence to suggest that the age-related decline in performance and aerobic energy production is a result of age-associated changes occurring in the mitochondria that affect the efficiency of energy production and its effect on work and exercise performance in older adults. In addition, his research team is now examining how endurance exercise training can slow or improve exercise performance and the ability or efficiency of the mitochondria to provide energy for daily activity.


Lecture Abstract:

"Age, Exercise and Adaptation: The Mitochondria Link”
Mitochondria are central to energy supply in muscle. The mitochondrial theory of aging proposes that this organelle is also at the center of aging processes in the cell. My presentation will focus on how mitochondria link aging, loss of muscle performance and improvement of function with exercise training. Our new data point to mitochondrial dysfunction – specifically, the energetic uncoupling of ATP supply from O2 uptake – as a critical factor in the loss of aerobic muscle function in elderly humans. This insight was made possible by innovative optical and magnetic resonance spectroscopic methods that non-invasively measure energy coupling (ATP/O2) in vivo. We also found reduced exercise efficiency – the uncoupling of work per VO2 – in these elderly subjects that paralleled the mitochondrial dysfunction. We present evidence that the reduced exercise efficiency likely reflects mitochondrial uncoupling rather than a shift of fiber type properties with age. Finally, the link between mitochondria and adaptation is demonstrated by results of an endurance training program. Trained elderly subjects showed improved mitochondrial coupling , greater exercise efficiency and no change in muscle fiber type. Thus, mitochondria may be a key factor in the loss of muscle performance with age but may also be the key to the reversal of these functional losses with training in elderly muscle. Top

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Research Director
Candian Centre for Activity and Aging
Phone: 519.661.1606 x81606
Email: dpaterso@uwo.ca

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