Repair of mitochondrial DNA in aging and carcinogenesis

Photochem Photobiol Sci. 2006 Feb;5(2):190-8. doi: 10.1039/b507380d. Epub 2005 Dec 7.


Mitochondria are responsible for the generation of energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate. These organelles contain their own genetic material, mitochondrial (mt) DNA. This mtDNA has been hypothesized to play a role in the processes of aging and carcinogenesis. Initial reports have shown that there is no repair of cyclobutylpyrimidine dimers (CPD). More recent reports indicate however, that the mitochondrion contains several defence mechanisms against endogenous or exogenous damaging agents such as ultraviolet radiation or oxidative damage. The role of these defence mechanisms in the removal of mitochondrial DNA damage and the link to aging and carcinogenesis-associated processes are discussed in this review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • DNA Repair*
  • DNA, Mitochondrial* / genetics
  • DNA, Mitochondrial* / metabolism
  • DNA, Mitochondrial* / radiation effects
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / genetics*
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / metabolism
  • Oxidation-Reduction / radiation effects
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects


  • DNA, Mitochondrial