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Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Diabetes: Is Mitochondrial Transfer a Friend or Foe?

Department of Physiology, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Melbourne, Melbourne 3010, Australia
Biology 2019, 8(2), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology8020033
Received: 9 November 2018 / Revised: 21 November 2018 / Accepted: 20 December 2018 / Published: 11 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Ageing and Diseases of Ageing)
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Abstract

Obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes are accompanied by a variety of systemic and tissue-specific metabolic defects, including inflammation, oxidative and endoplasmic reticulum stress, lipotoxicity, and mitochondrial dysfunction. Over the past 30 years, association studies and genetic manipulations, as well as lifestyle and pharmacological invention studies, have reported contrasting findings on the presence or physiological importance of mitochondrial dysfunction in the context of obesity and insulin resistance. It is still unclear if targeting mitochondrial function is a feasible therapeutic approach for the treatment of insulin resistance and glucose homeostasis. Interestingly, recent studies suggest that intact mitochondria, mitochondrial DNA, or other mitochondrial factors (proteins, lipids, miRNA) are found in the circulation, and that metabolic tissues secrete exosomes containing mitochondrial cargo. While this phenomenon has been investigated primarily in the context of cancer and a variety of inflammatory states, little is known about the importance of exosomal mitochondrial transfer in obesity and diabetes. We will discuss recent evidence suggesting that (1) tissues with mitochondrial dysfunction shed their mitochondria within exosomes, and that these exosomes impair the recipient’s cell metabolic status, and that on the other hand, (2) physiologically healthy tissues can shed mitochondria to improve the metabolic status of recipient cells. In this context the determination of whether mitochondrial transfer in obesity and diabetes is a friend or foe requires further studies. View Full-Text
Keywords: mitochondrial dysfunction; insulin resistance; type 2 diabetes; mitochondrial transfer; exosomes mitochondrial dysfunction; insulin resistance; type 2 diabetes; mitochondrial transfer; exosomes
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Montgomery, M.K. Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Diabetes: Is Mitochondrial Transfer a Friend or Foe? Biology 2019, 8, 33.

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