Mitochondria are highly relevant organelles with regard to their unique
function in generating energy and contributing to metabolism within the cell.
Furthermore, recent studies suggest that they might have an influence on the innate
immune and inflammatory responses, thus affecting antiviral immunity (as example:
Zika virus (ZIKV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), dengue virus and SARS-CoV-2 virus) and
antibacterial immunity as well (Streptococcus pneumoniae, Mycobacterium leprae and
Mycobacterium tuberculosis). Therefore, this chapter aims at bringing a relevant debate
about the role of mitochondria and their multifunctional capacity. We intend to discuss
the complexity of mitochondrial metabolism, especially during aerobic physical
exercises, which causes the modulation of the gene expression of proteins that lead to
mitochondrial proliferation and, thus, promote health. In addition, considering the
injuries caused by hypoxia, this chapter also stresses the enormous potential of
mitochondria to enable the survival of eukaryotic cells by allowing them to turn to
aerobic respiration, as shown in previous scientific studies. In conclusion, this chapter
points out the importance of mitochondrial biogenesis (both natural and stimulated biogenesis by aerobic exercise) and the benefits this organelle brings to the health,
arguing that they go far beyond cellular respiration and oxidative phosphorylation.