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Cell Res. 2010 Jun;20(6):676-87. doi: 10.1038/cr.2010.46. Epub 2010 Apr 6.

Hypoxia induces PGC-1α expression and mitochondrial biogenesis in the myocardium of TOF patients.

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Jiangsu Diabetes Center, State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, School of Life Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China.


PGC-1alpha, a potent transcriptional coactivator, is the major regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis and activity in the cardiac muscle. The dysregulation of PGC-1alpha and its target genes has been reported to be associated with congenital and acquired heart diseases. By examining myocardium samples from patients with Tetralogy of Fallot, we show here that PGC-1alpha expression levels are markedly increased in patients compared with healthy controls and positively correlated with the severity of cyanosis. Furthermore, hypoxia significantly induced the expression of PGC-1alpha and mitochondrial biogenesis in cultured cardiac myocytes. Mechanistic studies suggest that hypoxia-induced PGC-1alpha expression is regulated through the AMPK signaling pathway. Together, our data indicate that hypoxia can stimulate the expression of PGC-1alpha and mitochondrial biogenesis in the cardiac myocytes, and this process might provide a potential adaptive mechanism for cardiac myocytes to increase ATP output and minimize hypoxic damage to the heart.

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