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Biotechnol J. 2008 Jun;3(6):750-6. doi: 10.1002/biot.200800066.

Age related mitochondrial degenerative disorders in humans.

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  • 1Mitochondrial Research Group, Institute of Neuroscience, The Medical School, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.


Disorders caused by mitochondrial respiratory chain deficiency due to mutations in mitochondrial DNA have varied phenotypes but many involve neurological features often associated with cell loss within specific brain regions. These disorders, along with the increasing evidence of decline in mitochondrial function with ageing, have raised speculation that primary changes in mitochondria could have an important role in age-related neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease (PD) and Alzheimer's disease (AD). Evidence supporting a role for mitochondria in common neurodegenerative diseases comes from studies with the toxin MPP+ and familial PD, which has been shown to involve proteins such as DJ-1 and Pink1 (both of which are predicted to have a role in mitochondrial function and oxidative stress). Mutations within the mitochondrial genome have been shown to accumulate with age and in common neurodegenerative diseases. Mitochondrial DNA haplogroups have also been shown to be associated with certain neurodegenerative conditions. This review covers the primary mitochondrial diseases but also discuss the potential role of mitochondria and mitochondrial DNA mutations in mitochondrial and neurodegenerative diseases, in particular in PD and in AD.

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