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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2006 May-Jun;1757(5-6):611-7. Epub 2006 Mar 31.

Mitochondrial DNA and ageing.

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  • 1Division of Metabolic Diseases, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Karolinska Institute, NOVUM, SE-14186 Stockholm, Sweden.


The accumulation of mitochondrial DNA mutations has been proposed as a potential mechanism in the physiological processes of ageing and age-related disease. Although mitochondria have long been anticipated as a perpetrator of ageing, there was little experimental evidence to link these changes directly with the cellular pathology of ageing. Recently, considerable progress in understanding basic mitochondrial genetics and in identifying acquired mtDNA mutations in ageing has been made. Furthermore, the creation of mtDNA-mutator mice has provided the first direct evidence that accelerating the mtDNA mutation rate can result in premature ageing, consistent with the view that loss of mitochondrial function is a major causal factor in ageing. This review will, therefore, focus on recent developments in ageing research related to the role played by mtDNA.

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