Mitochondrial dysfunction in neurodegenerative diseases and cancer

Environ Mol Mutagen. 2010 Jun;51(5):391-405. doi: 10.1002/em.20575.


Mitochondria are important integrators of cellular function and therefore affect the homeostatic balance of the cell. Besides their important role in producing adenosine triphosphate through oxidative phosphorylation, mitochondria are involved in the control of cytosolic calcium concentration, metabolism of key cellular intermediates, and Fe/S cluster biogenesis and contributed to programmed cell death. Mitochondria are also one of the major cellular producers of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Several human pathologies, including neurodegenerative diseases and cancer, are associated with mitochondrial dysfunction and increased ROS damage. This article reviews how dysfunctional mitochondria contribute to Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, and several human cancers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Alzheimer Disease / etiology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Huntington Disease / etiology*
  • Huntington Disease / metabolism
  • Mitochondrial Diseases / complications*
  • Mitochondrial Diseases / metabolism
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Parkinson Disease / etiology*
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism


  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Adenosine Triphosphate