Dietary Polyphenols and Mitochondrial Function: Role in Health and Disease

Curr Med Chem. 2019;26(19):3376-3406. doi: 10.2174/0929867324666170529101810.


Mitochondria are cytoplasmic double-membraned organelles that are involved in a myriad of key cellular regulatory processes. The loss of mitochondrial function is related to the pathogenesis of several human diseases. Over the last decades, an increasing number of studies have shown that dietary polyphenols can regulate mitochondrial redox status, and in some cases, prevent or delay disease progression. This paper aims to review the role of four dietary polyphenols - resveratrol, curcumin, epigallocatechin-3-gallate nd quercetin - in molecular pathways regulated by mitochondria and their potential impact on human health. Cumulative evidence showed that the aforementioned polyphenols improve mitochondrial functions in different in vitro and in vivo experiments. The mechanisms underlying the polyphenols' beneficial effects include, among others, the attenuation of oxidative stress, the regulation of mitochondrial metabolism and biogenesis and the modulation of cell-death signaling cascades, among other mitochondrial-independent effects. The understanding of the chemicalbiological interactions of dietary polyphenols, namely with mitochondria, may have a huge impact on the treatment of mitochondrial dysfunction-related disorders.

Keywords: Mitochondria; dietary polyphenols; electron transport chain; outer mitochondrial membrane; oxidative stress; reactive oxygen species..

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Catechin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Catechin / therapeutic use
  • Curcumin / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Mitochondrial Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Quercetin / therapeutic use*
  • Resveratrol / therapeutic use*


  • Catechin
  • Quercetin
  • epigallocatechin gallate
  • Curcumin
  • Resveratrol