Send to

Choose Destination
J Physiol Biochem. 2003 Jun;59(2):129-41.

Mitochondrial control of neuron death and its role in neurodegenerative disorders.

Author information

Centro Regional de Investigaciones Biomédicas, Dpto. de Ciencias Médicas, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Albacete, Spain.


Genetic or functional mitochondrial alterations can result in the initiation of cell death programs that are believed to contribute to cell death in diabetes, ageing and neurodegenerative disorders. Mitochondria are being considered the main link between cellular stress signals activated during acute and chronic nerve cell injury, and the execution of nerve cell death. This second function of mitochondria is regulated by several families of proteins that can trigger an increase in permeability of the outer and/or inner mitochondrial membrane. One example of this is the formation of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (MPTP). This process can trigger the release of cell death-inducing factors from mitochondria, as well as a dissipation of the mitochondrial transmembrane potential, depletion of ATP, and increased free radical formation. Among the factors released from mitochondria are cytochrome c, the apoptosis inductor factor (AIF), and caspases. We review the role of the MPTP in diverse physiological and pathological processes, including neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The design of drugs that could interfere with the functions of the MPTP could allow novel therapeutic approaches for the treatment of acute and chronic nerve cell injury.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center