Mitochondrial dysfunction contributes to neurodegeneration in multiple sclerosis

Trends Mol Med. 2014 Mar;20(3):179-87. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2013.11.007. Epub 2013 Dec 24.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system. Current treatments are very effective in reducing the neuroinflammatory attack, but fail to significantly halt disease progression and associated loss of neuronal tissue. In recent years, it has become increasingly clear that dysfunctional mitochondria are important contributors to damage and loss of both axons and neurons. Observations in animal and histopathological studies suggest that infiltrating leukocytes and activated microglia play a central role in neuronal mitochondrial dysfunction. This review provides a comprehensive overview on the current knowledge regarding mitochondrial dysfunction in MS. Importantly, more insight into the cause and consequences of impaired mitochondrial function provide a basis for mitochondrial-targeted medicine to combat progressive MS.

Keywords: mitochondria; multiple sclerosis; neurodegeneration; neuroinflammation; oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / pathology
  • Demyelinating Diseases / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / pathology*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / pathology*
  • Neurons / pathology