Mitochondria are no longer solely regarded as the cellular powerhouse; instead, they are now implicated in mediating a wide-range of cellular processes, in the context of health and disease. A recent article in Clinical Science, Ventura-Clapier et al. highlights the role of sexual dimorphism in mitochondrial function in health and disease. However, we feel the authors have overlooked arguably one of the most mitochondria-rich organs in skeletal muscle. Many studies have demonstrated that mitochondria have a central role in mediating the pathogenesis of myopathologies. However, the impact of sexual dimorphism in this context is less clear, with several studies reporting conflicting observations. For instance in ageing studies, a rodent model reported female muscles have higher antioxidant capacity compared with males; in contrast, human studies demonstrate no sex difference in mitochondrial bioenergetics and oxidative damage. These divergent observations highlight the importance of considering models and methods used to examine mitochondrial function, when interpreting these data. The use of either isolated or intact mitochondrial preparations in many studies appears likely to be a source of discord, when comparing many studies. Overall, it is now clear that more research is needed to determine if sexual dimorphism is a contributing factor in the development of myopathologies.
Muscling in on mitochondrial sexual dimorphism; role of mitochondrial dimorphism in skeletal muscle health and disease
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Gareth A. Nye, Giorgos K. Sakellariou, Hans Degens, Adam P. Lightfoot; Muscling in on mitochondrial sexual dimorphism; role of mitochondrial dimorphism in skeletal muscle health and disease. Clin Sci (Lond) 1 August 2017; 131 (15): 1919–1922. doi: https://doi.org/10.1042/CS20160940
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