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Free Radic Biol Med. 2010 May 15;48(10):1286-95. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2010.02.020. Epub 2010 Feb 20.

Oxidative stress, mitochondrial bioenergetics, and cardiolipin in aging.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and CNR Institute of Biomembranes and Bioenergetics, University of Bari, Bari 70126, Italy.


Aging is a natural, complex, and multifactorial biological process associated with impairment of bioenergetic function, increased oxidative stress, attenuated ability to respond to stresses, and increased risk of contracting age-associated diseases. Oxidative stress is widely thought to underpin many aging processes. The mitochondrion, the powerhouse of the cell, is considered the most important cellular organelle to contribute to the aging process, mainly through respiratory chain dysfunction and formation of reactive oxygen species, leading to damage to mitochondrial proteins, lipids, and mitochondrial DNA. Cardiolipin, a phospholipid located at the level of the inner mitochondrial membrane, is known to be intimately involved in several mitochondrial bioenergetic processes as well as mitochondrial-dependent steps in apoptosis and mitochondrial membrane stability and dynamics. Alterations to cardiolipin structure, content, and acyl chain composition have been associated with mitochondrial dysfunction in multiple tissues in several physiopathological conditions and aging. In this review, we discuss several aspects of mitochondrial bioenergetic alterations in aging and the role played by reactive oxygen species and cardiolipin in these alterations.

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