Exercise-and cold-induced human pgc-1α mrna isoform specific responses

Camille Larson, Megan Opichka, Mark L. McGlynn, Christopher W. Collins, Dustin Slivka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Cold exposure in conjunction with aerobic exercise stimulates gene expression of PGC-1α, the master regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis. PGC-1α can be expressed as multiple isoforms due to alternative splicing mechanisms. Among these isoforms is NT-PGC-1α, which produces a truncated form of the PGC-1α protein, as well as isoforms derived from the first exon of the transcript, PGC-1α-a, PGC-1α-b, and PGC-1α-c. Relatively little is known about the individual responses of these isoforms to exercise and environmental temperature. Therefore, we determined the expression of PGC-1α isoforms following an acute bout of cycling in cold (C) and room temperature (RT) conditions. Nine male participants cycled for 1h at 65% Wmax at −2 °C and 20 °C. A muscle biopsy was taken from the vastus lateralis before and 3h post-exercise. RT-qPCR was used to analyze gene expression of PGC-1α isoforms. Gene expression of all PGC-1α isoforms increased due to the exercise intervention (p < 0.05). Exercise and cold exposure induced a greater increase in gene expression for total PGC-1α (p = 0.028) and its truncated isoform, NT-PGC-1α (p = 0.034), but there was no temperature-dependent response in the other PGC-1α isoforms measured. It appears that NT-PGC-1α may have a significant contribution to the reported alterations in the exercise-and temperature-induced PGC-1α response.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5740
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 2 2020


  • Alternate promoter
  • Primary promoter
  • RT-qPCR
  • Transcription
  • Truncated


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