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Biochemistry Research International
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 714074, 12 pages
Research Article

Overexpression of PGC-1α Increases Fatty Acid Oxidative Capacity of Human Skeletal Muscle Cells

1Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences, School of Pharmacy, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1068 Blindern, N-0316 Oslo, Norway
2AstraZeneca Reseach and Development, SE-43185 Mölndal, Sweden
3Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition and Exercise, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia

Received 15 April 2011; Accepted 29 June 2011

Academic Editor: Paul Denny

Copyright © 2012 Nataša Nikolić et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We investigated the effects of PGC-1α (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ coactivator-1α) overexpression on the oxidative capacity of human skeletal muscle cells ex vivo. PGC-1α overexpression increased the oxidation rate of palmitic acid and mRNA expression of genes regulating lipid metabolism, mitochondrial biogenesis, and function in human myotubes. Basal and insulin-stimulated deoxyglucose uptake were decreased, possibly due to upregulation of PDK4 mRNA. Expression of fast fiber-type gene marker (MHCIIa) was decreased. Compared to skeletal muscle in vivo, PGC-1α overexpression increased expression of several genes, which were downregulated during the process of cell isolation and culturing. In conclusion, PGC-1α overexpression increased oxidative capacity of cultured myotubes by improving lipid metabolism, increasing expression of genes involved in regulation of mitochondrial function and biogenesis, and decreasing expression of MHCIIa. These results suggest that therapies aimed at increasing PGC-1α expression may have utility in treatment of obesity and obesity-related diseases.