Proper mitochondrial function is crucial for intact cellular homeostasis. Mitochondrial dysfunction is clearly involved in the pathogenesis of most neurodegenerative- and age-related chronic disorders. The aim of this study is to stimulate cellular production of important compounds of mitochondrial biogenesis, namely in the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator (PGC)- and Sirtuin (SIRT)-systems. We studied the effect of cold challenge and training on the mRNA expression levels of some compounds of these systems in different brain areas of mice. With regard to the PGC-system, the mRNA levels of the full- and N-truncated isoforms, and those of the two promoters (brain-specific, reference) were measured. In case of Sirtuins, the mRNA levels of SIRT1 and SIRT3-M1/M2/M3 were assessed. We found the following expression level alterations: cooling resulted in the elevation of cortical SIRT3-M1 levels and the decrease of cerebellar SIRT3-M3 levels after 200 min. 900 min of cold exposure resulted in the reduction of cortical SIRT1 and striatal SIRT3-M1 levels. A prominent elevation could be observed in the levels of all PGC-1α isoforms in the cerebellum after 12 days of training. The 12 days of exercise resulted in increased cerebellar SIRT3-M1 and SIRT3-M2 mRNA levels as well. Although the efficacy of cooling core body and brain temperature is questionable, we found that training exerted a clear effect. The cause of the prominent cerebellar elevation of PGC-, and Sirtuin isoforms could be an increase in synaptic plasticity between Purkinje cells, which facilitates better motor coordination and more precise movement integration. We propose that these systems may serve as promising targets for future therapeutic studies in neurodegenerative diseases.
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