Pharmaceuticals 2010, 3(4), 839-915; doi:10.3390/ph3040839
Review

Mitochondrial and Cell Death Mechanisms in Neurodegenerative Diseases

Department of Pathology, Division of Neuropathology and Department of Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 558 Ross Building, 720 Rutland Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland 21205-2196, USA
Received: 31 December 2009; in revised form: 22 March 2010 / Accepted: 23 March 2010 / Published: 25 March 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mitochondrial Drugs for Neurodegenerative Diseases)
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Abstract: Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are the most common human adult-onset neurodegenerative diseases. They are characterized by prominent age-related neurodegeneration in selectively vulnerable neural systems. Some forms of AD, PD, and ALS are inherited, and genes causing these diseases have been identified. Nevertheless, the mechanisms of the neuronal cell death are unresolved. Morphological, biochemical, genetic, as well as cell and animal model studies reveal that mitochondria could have roles in this neurodegeneration. The functions and properties of mitochondria might render subsets of selectively vulnerable neurons intrinsically susceptible to cellular aging and stress and overlying genetic variations, triggering neurodegeneration according to a cell death matrix theory. In AD, alterations in enzymes involved in oxidative phosphorylation, oxidative damage, and mitochondrial binding of Aβ and amyloid precursor protein have been reported. In PD, mutations in putative mitochondrial proteins have been identified and mitochondrial DNA mutations have been found in neurons in the substantia nigra. In ALS, changes occur in mitochondrial respiratory chain enzymes and mitochondrial cell death proteins. Transgenic mouse models of human neurodegenerative disease are beginning to reveal possible principles governing the biology of selective neuronal vulnerability that implicate mitochondria and the mitochondrial permeability transition pore. This review summarizes how mitochondrial pathobiology might contribute to neuronal death in AD, PD, and ALS and could serve as a target for drug therapy.
Keywords: adenine nucleotide translocator; apoptosis; cell death; cyclophilin D; excitotoxicity; fuzzy logic; mitochondrial permeability transition pore; motor neuron; ppif; voltage-dependent anion channel

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MDPI and ACS Style

Martin, L.J. Mitochondrial and Cell Death Mechanisms in Neurodegenerative Diseases. Pharmaceuticals 2010, 3, 839-915.

AMA Style

Martin LJ. Mitochondrial and Cell Death Mechanisms in Neurodegenerative Diseases. Pharmaceuticals. 2010; 3(4):839-915.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Martin, Lee J. 2010. "Mitochondrial and Cell Death Mechanisms in Neurodegenerative Diseases." Pharmaceuticals 3, no. 4: 839-915.

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