Mitochondrial changes associated with viral infectious diseases in the paediatric population

Rev Med Virol. 2021 Nov;31(6):e2232. doi: 10.1002/rmv.2232. Epub 2021 Mar 31.


Infectious diseases occur worldwide with great frequency in both adults and children, causing 350,000 deaths in 2017, according to the latest World Health Organization reports. Both infections and their treatments trigger mitochondrial interactions at multiple levels: (i) incorporation of damaged or mutated proteins into the complexes of the electron transport chain; (ii) impact on mitochondrial genome (depletion, deletions and point mutations) and mitochondrial dynamics (fusion and fission); (iii) membrane potential impairment; (iv) apoptotic regulation; and (v) generation of reactive oxygen species, among others. Such alterations may result in serious adverse clinical events with considerable impact on the quality of life of the children and could even cause death. Herein, we use a systematic review to explore the association between mitochondrial alterations in paediatric infections including human immunodeficiency virus, cytomegalovirus, herpes viruses, various forms of hepatitis, adenovirus, T-cell lymphotropic virus and influenza. We analyse how these paediatric viral infectious processes may cause mitochondrial deterioration in this especially vulnerable population, with consideration for the principal aspects of research and diagnosis leading to improved disease understanding, management and surveillance.

Keywords: antivirals; infections; mitochondria; paediatrics; virus.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents
  • Child
  • Communicable Diseases*
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / genetics
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Mitochondria / pathology
  • Pediatrics
  • Virus Diseases / metabolism*
  • Virus Diseases / pathology


  • Antiviral Agents
  • DNA, Mitochondrial