Encyclopedia of Exercise Medicine in Health and Disease

2012 Edition
| Editors: Frank C. Mooren

Mitochondrial Respiration

  • Joris Hoeks
  • Matthijs Hesselink
  • Patrick SchrauwenEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-29807-6_136



Mitochondrial respiration is the set of metabolic reactions and processes requiring oxygen that takes place in mitochondria to convert the energy stored in macronutrients to  adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the universal energy donor in the cell.

Basic Mechanisms

Approximately half a century ago, mitochondria, cellular organelles bounded by a highly folded inner and fairly smooth outer membrane were recognized as the cellular “power plants” providing the energy required for metabolism. The mechanism that underlies the energy-generating capacity of mitochondria was described by Mitchell in 1961 and awarded with the 1978 Nobel Prize in chemistry. Mitchell’s chemiosmotic theory describes how the oxidation of nutritional substrates is coupled to the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the compound in which cellular energy is conserved. In mitochondria, the macronutrient-derived reducing equivalents NADH and FADH 2...
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. 1.
    Wu Z, Puigserver P, Andersson U, Zhang C, Adelmant G, Mootha V, Troy A, Cinti S, Lowell B, Scarpulla RC, Spiegelman BM (1999) Mechanisms controlling mitochondrial biogenesis and respiration through the thermogenic coactivator PGC-1. Cell 98:115–124PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bergeron R, Ren JM, Cadman KS, Moore IK, Perret P, Pypaert M, Young LH, Semenkovich CF, Shulman GI (2001) Chronic activation of AMP kinase results in NRF-1 activation and mitochondrial biogenesis. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 281:E1340–E1346PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Lin J, Wu H, Tarr PT, Zhang CY, Wu Z, Boss O, Michael LF, Puigserver P, Isotani E, Olson EN, Lowell BB, Bassel-Duby R, Spiegelman BM (2002) Transcriptional co-activator PGC-1 alpha drives the formation of slow-twitch muscle fibres. Nature 418:797–801PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Tonkonogi M, Sahlin K (1997) Rate of oxidative phosphorylation in isolated mitochondria from human skeletal muscle: effect of training status. Acta Physiol Scand 161:345–353PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Phielix E, Meex R, Moonen-Kornips E, Hesselink MK, Schrauwen P (2011) Exercise training increases mitochondrial content and ex vivo mitochondrial function similarly in patients with type 2 diabetes and in control individuals. Diabetologia 53:1714–1721CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joris Hoeks
    • 1
  • Matthijs Hesselink
    • 1
  • Patrick Schrauwen
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Human BiologyMaastricht University Medical CenterMaastrichtThe Netherlands