Impaired mitochondrial function in psychiatric disorders

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2012 Apr 18;13(5):293-307. doi: 10.1038/nrn3229.


Major psychiatric illnesses such as mood disorders and schizophrenia are chronic, recurrent mental illnesses that affect the lives of millions of individuals. Although these disorders have traditionally been viewed as 'neurochemical diseases', it is now clear that they are associated with impairments of synaptic plasticity and cellular resilience. Although most patients with these disorders do not have classic mitochondrial disorders, there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that impaired mitochondrial function may affect key cellular processes, thereby altering synaptic functioning and contributing to the atrophic changes that underlie the deteriorating long-term course of these illnesses. Enhancing mitochondrial function could represent an important avenue for the development of novel therapeutics and also presents an opportunity for a potentially more efficient drug-development process.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Energy Metabolism* / physiology
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / metabolism*
  • Mental Disorders / pathology*
  • Mental Disorders / therapy
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Mitochondria / pathology*
  • Mitochondrial Diseases / metabolism*
  • Mitochondrial Diseases / pathology*
  • Mitochondrial Diseases / therapy
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Synapses / metabolism
  • Synapses / pathology