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Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Jul;18(5):190-8. Epub 2007 May 17.

Mitochondria as key components of the stress response.

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Human Biochemical Genetics Section, MGB, NHGRI, NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


The exquisitely orchestrated adaptive response to stressors that challenge the homeostasis of the cell and organism involves important changes in mitochondrial function. A complex signaling network enables mitochondria to sense internal milieu or environmental changes and to adjust their bioenergetic, thermogenic, oxidative and/or apoptotic responses accordingly, aiming at re-establishment of homeostasis. Mitochondrial dysfunction is increasingly recognized as a key component in both acute and chronic allostatic states, although the extent of its role in the pathogenesis of such conditions remains controversial. Genetic and environmental factors that determine mitochondrial function might contribute to the significant variation of the stress response. Understanding the often reciprocal interplay between stress mediators and mitochondrial function is likely to help identify potential therapeutic targets for many stress and mitochondria-related pathologies.

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