Send to

Choose Destination
Front Neurosci. 2019 Sep 10;13:894. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2019.00894. eCollection 2019.

Bioenergetics and Autophagic Imbalance in Patients-Derived Cell Models of Parkinson Disease Supports Systemic Dysfunction in Neurodegeneration.

Author information

Muscle Research and Mitochondrial Function Laboratory, Cellex-IDIBAPS, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences-University of Barcelona, Internal Medicine Service-Hospital Clínic of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.
CIBERER-U722, Madrid, Spain.


Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second most prevalent neurodegenerative disorder worldwide affecting 2-3% of the population over 65 years. This prevalence is expected to rise as life expectancy increases and diagnostic and therapeutic protocols improve. PD encompasses a multitude of clinical, genetic, and molecular forms of the disease. Even though the mechanistic of the events leading to neurodegeneration remain largely unknown, some molecular hallmarks have been repeatedly reported in most patients and models of the disease. Neuroinflammation, protein misfolding, disrupted endoplasmic reticulum-mitochondria crosstalk, mitochondrial dysfunction and consequent bioenergetic failure, oxidative stress and autophagy deregulation, are amongst the most commonly described. Supporting these findings, numerous familial forms of PD are caused by mutations in genes that are crucial for mitochondrial and autophagy proper functioning. For instance, late and early onset PD associated to mutations in Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) and Parkin (PRKN) genes, responsible for the most frequent dominant and recessive inherited forms of PD, respectively, have emerged as promising examples of disease due to their established role in commanding bioenergetic and autophagic balance. Concomitantly, the development of animal and cell models to investigate the etiology of the disease, potential biomarkers and therapeutic approaches are being explored. One of the emerging approaches in this context is the use of patient's derived cells models, such as skin-derived fibroblasts that preserve the genetic background and some environmental cues of the patients. An increasing number of reports in these PD cell models postulate that deficient mitochondrial function and impaired autophagic flux may be determinant in PD accelerated nigral cell death in terms of limitation of cell energy supply and accumulation of obsolete and/or unfolded proteins or dysfunctional organelles. The reliance of neurons on mitochondrial oxidative metabolism and their post-mitotic nature, may explain their increased vulnerability to undergo degeneration upon mitochondrial challenges or autophagic insults. In this scenario, proper mitochondrial function and turnover through mitophagy, are gaining in strength as protective targets to prevent neurodegeneration, together with the use of patient-derived fibroblasts to further explore these events. These findings point out the presence of molecular damage beyond the central nervous system (CNS) and proffer patient-derived cell platforms to the clinical and scientific community, which enable the study of disease etiopathogenesis and therapeutic approaches focused on modifying the natural history of PD through, among others, the enhancement of mitochondrial function and autophagy.


LRRK2; Parkin; autophagy; fibroblasts; mitochondria; neurodegeneration

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Frontiers Media SA Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center