Mitochondria and the central nervous system: searching for a pathophysiological basis of psychiatric disorders

Braz J Psychiatry. Apr-Jun 2014;36(2):156-67. doi: 10.1590/1516-4446-2013-1224.

Abstract

Introduction: Mitochondrial dysfunction has been postulated to participate in the development of many neuropsychiatric disorders, but there is no consensus as to its role. The aim of this paper is to review recent studies and to outline the current understanding of the association between mitochondrial dysfunction and psychiatric disorders.

Methodology: We reviewed articles that evaluated mitochondrial dysfunction and psychiatric disorders, with a particular focus on depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and autism spectrum disorder, and the association between mitochondrial dysfunction and development of these disorders.

Results: Evidence suggests that alterations in mitochondrial morphology, brain energy metabolism, and mitochondrial enzyme activity may be involved in the pathophysiology of different neuropsychiatric disorders, given their key role in energy metabolism in the cell.

Conclusions: Understanding the interactions between mitochondrial dysfunction and development of psychiatric disorders may help establish more effective therapeutic strategies for these disorders and thus lead to better outcomes for affected subjects.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Central Nervous System / metabolism
  • Central Nervous System / physiopathology*
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / etiology
  • Mental Disorders / metabolism
  • Mental Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / physiology*
  • Mitochondrial Diseases / metabolism
  • Mitochondrial Diseases / physiopathology*