Mitochondria transform nutrients and oxygen into chemical energy that powers a multitude of cellular functions. In addition to generating the majority of a cell’s ATP, the byproducts of mitochondrial aerobic glycolysis have wide-ranging influences on cellular health and longevity. This review series, edited by Dr. Michael Sack, focuses on the many contributions of mitochondria to disease and aging. The reviews highlight evidence linking altered mitochondrial metabolism and oxidative stress to a range of pathophysiological phenomena: inflammation and immune dysfunction, heart failure, cancer development, metabolic disease, and more. In many diseases and conditions, mitochondrial dysfunction is considered the tipping point toward pathological progression. However, as these reviews discuss, therapeutic targeting of mitochondria may be a powerful strategy to subvert disease and aging processes.
The biological basis of human aging remains one of the greatest unanswered scientific questions. Increasing evidence, however, points to a role for alterations in mitochondrial function as a potential central regulator of the aging process. Here, we focus primarily on three aspects of mitochondrial biology that link this ancient organelle to how and why we age. In particular, we discuss the role of mitochondria in regulating the innate immune system, the mechanisms linking mitochondrial quality control to age-dependent pathology, and the possibility that mitochondrial-to-nuclear signaling might regulate the rate of aging.
Ji Yong Jang, Arnon Blum, Jie Liu, Toren Finkel
Remodeling of mitochondrial metabolism plays an important role in regulating immune cell fate, proliferation, and activity. Furthermore, given their bacterial ancestry, disruption in mitochondrial fidelity leading to extravasation of their content initiates and amplifies innate immune surveillance with a myriad of physiologic and pathologic consequences. Investigations into the role of mitochondria in the immune system have come to the fore, and appreciation of mitochondrial function and quality control in immune regulation has enhanced our understanding of disease pathogenesis and identified new targets for immune modulation. This mitochondria-centered Review focuses on the role of mitochondrial metabolism and fidelity, as well as the role of the mitochondria as a structural platform, for the control of immune cell polarity, activation, and signaling. Mitochondria-linked disease and mitochondrially targeted therapeutic strategies to manage these conditions are also discussed.
Michael N. Sack
Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a heterogeneous and fatal disease of the lung vasculature, where metabolic and mitochondrial dysfunction may drive pathogenesis. Similar to the Warburg effect in cancer, a shift from mitochondrial oxidation to glycolysis occurs in diseased pulmonary vessels and the right ventricle. However, appreciation of metabolic events in PH beyond the Warburg effect is only just emerging. This Review discusses molecular, translational, and clinical concepts centered on the mitochondria and highlights promising, controversial, and challenging areas of investigation. If we can move beyond the “mountains” of obstacles in this field and elucidate these fundamental tenets of pulmonary vascular metabolism, such work has the potential to usher in much-needed diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for the mitochondrial and metabolic management of PH.
Miranda K. Culley, Stephen Y. Chan