Role of Mitochondria in Disease

Maria Konovalenko

Mitochondria and diseaseThere are tree lectures about the mitochondria in my course. Dr. Pinchas Cohen, the Dean of Davis School of Gerontology, talked about the role of mitochondria in disease and pathology.

Mitochondria have essentially three major functions. They are responsible for cellular respiration, integration of apoptotic signals, which means they control cell death, and production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Mitochondrial function declines with age as a result of accumulated mutations in the mitochondrial DNA. Mitochondrial disfunction is common in diseases, such as diabetes, neurodegenerative pathologies and cancer.

Interestingly, Dr. Cohen mentioned that there were only three Nobel prizes for research in mitochondrial biology. He anticipates that quite soon there will be a Prize awarded to mitochondria research.

Mitochondria are very different in different tissues. They vary in size, numbers, histologically and in proteins they have. Energy production levels also vary quite significantly. This is due to differences in cellular environment…

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