Gnaiger 2013 Abstract ASMRM

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Gnaiger E(2013) Loss of mitochondrial competence and degenerative disease: cause and effect. Abstract ASMRM-Seoul.


Gnaiger E (2013)

Event: ASMRM

Controversies persist currently if mitochondrial (mt) dysfunction plays a causative role during the onset and progression of type 2 diabetes [1,2], metabolic syndrome [3] and a wide range of degenerative diseases. BMI is an integrator of energy balance in active versus sedentary lifestyles, and the progression to obesity correlates with a loss of mt-density and the decline of OXPHOS capacity per muscle mass. Under sedentary conditions of diminished energy utilization and ‘diabesity’, reduction of mt-density may be adaptive, keeping hyperpolarization and ROS production in check. Below a threshold of low mt-density the adaptive range for downregulation of mt-biogenesis is exceeded. This marks the transition to a proinflammatory state (‘mitochondrial fever’), putting the cell at risk of further degeneration and cell death, with all sequelae of age-related diseases [4]. From a static point of view, deterioration of mt-structure (mt-DNA, proteins, membranes) causes dysfunction. From a dynamic perspective, the action of flows over time induces regeneration, explaining the preventive potential of physical exercise. Cause and effect are embedded in a network of feedback control and circular loops in degenerative diseases.

Keywords: Preventive mitochondrial medicine, BMI, mt-density, OXPHOS capacity, diabesity

O2k-Network Lab: AT Innsbruck Oroboros


  1. Goodpaster BH (2013) Mitochondrial deficiency is associated with insulin resistance. Diabetes 62: 1032-1035.
  2. Holloszy JO (2013) "Deficiency" of mitochondria in muscle does not cause insulin resistance. Diabetes 62: 1036-1040.
  3. Lee HK, Shim EB (2013) Extension of the mitochondria dysfunction hypothesis of metabolic syndrome to atherosclerosis with emphasis on the endocrine-disrupting chemicals and biophysical laws. J Diabetes Investig 4 : 19-33.
  4. Burtscher M, Gnaiger E (2013) Physical activity and cardiovascular diseases: epidemiology and primary preventive and therapeutic targets. In: Wakabayashi I, Groschner K, ed, Interdisciplinary concepts in cardiovascular health. Springer: 127-144.


1- D. Swarovski Research Laboratory, Medical University of Innsbruck, 6020, 2OROBOROS INSTRUMENTS, Innsbruck, 6020, Austria.

Acknowledgements: Supported by K-Regio project MitoCom Tyrol, funded in part by the Tyrolian Government and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Email: [email protected]

Labels: MiParea: Respiration, mt-Biogenesis;mt-density, Exercise physiology;nutrition;life style  Pathology: Diabetes  Stress:Mitochondrial disease  Organism: Human 

Regulation: Coupling efficiency;uncoupling, Substrate, Fatty acid  Coupling state: LEAK, OXPHOS 

HRR: Oxygraph-2k