Mitochondria are cell’s organelles responsible for producing the energy necessary for the cells to function. Alterations in mitochondrial dynamics may explain the dysfunction in these organelles, which in turn is associated with the development of different metabolic diseases like type-2 diabetes, and other aging-related pathologies like cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. This is the main conclusion of a study led by the Institute for Biomedical Research and the Diabetes and Associated Metabolic Diseases Networking Biomedical Research Centre, in Spain.

The study, published in Trends in Molecular Medicine, explains that the loss of function of these organelles had already been associated with development of different types of diseases, in addition been considered as a possible cause of the aging by itself. However, the underlying causes of this mitochondrial dysfunction are not fully understood.

For the authors, the explanation for this failure could lie in the mitochondrial dynamics. These are key processes to preserve mitochondrial quality, which ensure proper mitochondrial function and participate in mitophagy (selective elimination of damaged mitochondria).

According to the results, alterations in different proteins that regulate mitochondrial dynamics are associated with aging and associated diseases in different organisms such as yeasts, flies, mice and humans. The authors propose that these alterations attack in two fronts: by promoting intrinsic defects in mitochondrial function that would lead to mitochondrial damage; and by simultaneously avoiding the elimination of damaged mitochondria.

Therefore, alterations in mitochondrial dynamics may be one of the primary causes of loss of quality and function in mitochondria observed in type-2 diabetes, aging and its associated diseases. Further research in this subject could contribute set mitochondrial dynamics as a promising therapeutic target to combat these diseases.

 

Source: Agencia SINC