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Oxidative Stress and Altered Mitochondrial Function in Neurodegenerative Diseases: Lessons From Mouse Models

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Oxidative stress has been consistently linked to ageing-related neurodegenerative diseases leading to the generation of lipid peroxides, carbonyl proteins and oxidative DNA damage in tissue samples from affected brains. Studies from mouse models that express disease-specific mutant proteins associated to the major neurodegenerative processes have underscored a critical role of mitochondria in the pathogenesis of these diseases. There is strong evidence that mitochondrial dysfunction is an early event in neurodegeneration. Mitochondria are the main cellular source of reactive oxygen species and key regulators of cell death. Moreover, mitochondria are highly dynamic organelles that divide, fuse and move along axons and dendrites to supply cellular energetic demands; therefore, impairment of any of these processes would directly impact on neuronal viability. Most of the disease-specific pathogenic mutant proteins have been shown to target mitochondria, promoting oxidative stress and the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway. In addition, disease-specific mutant proteins may also impair mitochondrial dynamics and recycling of damaged mitochondria via autophagy. Collectively, these data suggest that ROS-mediated defective mitochondria may accumulate during and contribute to disease progression. Strategies aimed to improve mitochondrial function or ROS scavenging may thus be of potential clinical relevance.

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Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Huntington's disease; Parkinson's disease; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; autophagy; mitochondria; mitochondrial dynamics; oxidative stress

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Cell Death and Proliferation, Instituto de Investigaciones Biomedicas de Barcelona, CSIC, Rossello 161, 08036-Barcelona, Spain.

Publication date: 2010-08-01

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  • CNS & Neurological Disorders - Drug Targets aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, molecular biology, genomics and biochemistry of contemporary molecular targets involved in neurological and central nervous system (CNS) disorders e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes. Each issue of the journal will contain a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of current topics on drug targets involved in neurological and CNS disorders. As the discovery, identification, characterization and validation of novel human drug targets for neurological and CNS drug discovery continues to grow; this journal will be essential reading for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug discovery and development.
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