The role of mitochondria in axonal degeneration and tissue repair in MS

Mult Scler. 2012 Aug;18(8):1058-67. doi: 10.1177/1352458512452924. Epub 2012 Jun 21.


Axonal injury is a key feature of multiple sclerosis (MS) pathology and is currently seen as the main correlate for permanent clinical disability. Although little is known about the pathogenetic mechanisms that drive axonal damage and loss, there is accumulating evidence highlighting the central role of mitochondrial dysfunction in axonal degeneration and associated neurodegeneration. The aim of this topical review is to provide a concise overview on the involvement of mitochondrial dysfunction in axonal damage and destruction in MS. Hereto, we will discuss putative pathological mechanisms leading to mitochondrial dysfunction and recent imaging studies performed in vivo in patients with MS. Moreover, we will focus on molecular mechanisms and novel imaging studies that address the role of mitochondrial metabolism in tissue repair. Finally, we will briefly review therapeutic strategies aimed at improving mitochondrial metabolism and function under neuroinflammatory conditions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / metabolism*
  • Axons / pathology
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Mitochondria / pathology
  • Multiple Sclerosis / metabolism*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / pathology
  • Multiple Sclerosis / therapy
  • Nerve Degeneration*
  • Neurogenesis*
  • Prognosis


  • Biomarkers