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Front Physiol. 2018 Aug 17;9:1122. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2018.01122. eCollection 2018.

Chronic Exercise Improves Mitochondrial Function and Insulin Sensitivity in Brown Adipose Tissue.

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Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, Complutense University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain.
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology II, School of Pharmacy, Complutense University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain.
CIBER of Diabetes and Associated Metabolic Diseases, Barcelona, Spain.
Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, Autonomous University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain.
Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, Magna Græcia University of Catanzaro, Catanzaro, Italy.


The aim of the present work was to study the consequences of chronic exercise training on factors involved in the regulation of mitochondrial remodeling and biogenesis, as well as the ability to produce energy and improve insulin sensitivity and glucose uptake in rat brown adipose tissue (BAT). Male Wistar rats were divided into two groups: (1) control group (C; n = 10) and (2) exercise-trained rats (ET; n = 10) for 8 weeks on a motor treadmill (five times per week for 50 min). Exercise training reduced body weight, plasma insulin, and oxidized LDL concentrations. Protein expression of ATP-independent metalloprotease (OMA1), short optic atrophy 1 (S-OPA1), and dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP1) in BAT increased in trained rats, and long optic atrophy 1 (L-OPA1) and mitofusin 1 (MFN1) expression decreased. BAT expression of nuclear respiratory factor type 1 (NRF1) and mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM), the main factors involved in mitochondrial biogenesis, was higher in trained rats compared to controls. Exercise training increased protein expression of sirtuin 1 (SIRT1), peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ coactivator 1α (PGC1α) and AMP-activated protein kinase (pAMPK/AMPK ratio) in BAT. In addition, training increased carnitine palmitoyltransferase II (CPT II), mitochondrial F1 ATP synthase α-chain, mitochondrial malate dehydrogenase 2 (mMDH) and uncoupling protein (UCP) 1,2,3 expression in BAT. Moreover, exercise increased insulin receptor (IR) ratio (IRA/IRB ratio), IRA-insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF-1R) hybrids and p42/44 activation, and decreased IGF-1R expression and IR substrate 1 (p-IRS-1) (S307) indicating higher insulin sensitivity and favoring glucose uptake in BAT in response to chronic exercise training. In summary, the present study indicates that chronic exercise is able to improve the energetic profile of BAT in terms of increased mitochondrial function and insulin sensitivity.


UCPs; brown adipose tissue; exercise; insulin sensitivity; mitochondrial dynamic

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