Prospects for therapeutic mitochondrial transplantation

Mitochondrion. 2017 Jul;35:70-79. doi: 10.1016/j.mito.2017.05.007. Epub 2017 May 19.

Abstract

Mitochondrial dysfunction has been implicated in a multitude of diseases and pathological conditions- the organelles that are essential for life can also be major players in contributing to cell death and disease. Because mitochondria are so well established in our existence, being present in all cell types except for red blood cells and having the responsibility of providing most of our energy needs for survival, then dysfunctional mitochondria can elicit devastating cellular pathologies that can be widespread across the entire organism. As such, the field of "mitochondrial medicine" is emerging in which disease states are being targeted therapeutically at the level of the mitochondrion, including specific antioxidants, bioenergetic substrate additions, and membrane uncoupling agents. New and compelling research investigating novel techniques for mitochondrial transplantation to replace damaged or dysfunctional mitochondria with exogenous healthy mitochondria has shown promising results, including tissue sparing accompanied by increased energy production and decreased oxidative damage. Various experimental techniques have been attempted and each has been challenged to accomplish successful transplantation. The purpose of this review is to present the history of mitochondrial transplantation, the different techniques used for both in vitro and in vivo delivery, along with caveats and pitfalls that have been discovered along the way. Results from such pioneering studies are promising and could be the next big wave of "mitochondrial medicine" once technical hurdles are overcome.

Keywords: Bioenergetics; Cellular uptake; Oxidative phosphorylation; Oxygen consumption; Replacement strategies.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / genetics*
  • Mitochondria / physiology*
  • Mitochondrial Diseases / therapy*
  • Molecular Medicine / methods*