Mitochondria are key regulators of cell fate through controlling ATP generation and releasing pro-apoptotic factors. Cardiac ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury to the coronary microcirculation has manifestations ranging in severity from reversible edema to interstitial hemorrhage. A number of mechanisms have been proposed to explain the cardiac microvascular I/R injury including edema, impaired vasomotion, coronary microembolization, and capillary destruction. In contrast to their role in cell types with higher energy demands, mitochondria in endothelial cells primarily function in signaling cellular responses to environmental cues. It is clear that abnormal mitochondrial signatures, including mitochondrial oxidative stress, mitochondrial fission, mitochondrial fusion, and mitophagy, play a substantial role in endothelial cell function. While the pathogenic role of each of these mitochondrial alterations in the endothelial cells I/R injury remains complex, profiling of mitochondrial oxidative stress and mitochondrial dynamics in endothelial cell dysfunction may offer promising potential targets in the search for novel diagnostics and therapeutics in cardiac microvascular I/R injury. The objective of this review is to discuss the role of mitochondrial oxidative stress on cardiac microvascular endothelial cells dysfunction. Mitochondrial dynamics, including mitochondrial fission and fusion, are critically discussed to understand their roles in endothelial cell survival. Finally, mitophagy, as a degradative mechanism for damaged mitochondria, is summarized to figure out its contribution to the progression of microvascular I/R injury.
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