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The many roads to mitochondrial dysfunction in neuroimmune and neuropsychiatric disorders

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By Gerwyn Morris and Michael Berk
 
Abstract

Background: Mitochondrial dysfunction and defects in oxidative metabolism are a characteristic feature of many chronic illnesses not currently classified as mitochondrial diseases. Examples of such illnesses include bipolar disorder, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, depression, autism, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
 
Discussion: While the majority of patients with multiple sclerosis appear to have widespread mitochondrial dysfunction and impaired ATP production, the findings in patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, autism, depression, bipolar disorder schizophrenia and chronic fatigue syndrome are less consistent, likely reflecting the fact that these diagnoses do not represent a disease with a unitary pathogenesis and pathophysiology. However, investigations have revealed the presence of chronic oxidative stress to be an almost invariant finding in study cohorts of patients afforded each diagnosis. This state is characterized by elevated reactive oxygen and nitrogen species and/or reduced levels of glutathione, and goes hand in hand with chronic systemic inflammation with elevated levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
 
Summary: This paper details mechanisms by which elevated levels of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species together with elevated pro-inflammatory cytokines could conspire to pave a major road to the development of mitochondrial dysfunction and impaired oxidative metabolism seen in many patients diagnosed with these disorders.
 
Source: Gerwyn Morris and Michael Berk. The many roads to mitochondrial dysfunction in neuroimmune and neuropsychiatric disorders. BMC Medicine 2015, 13:68  doi:10.1186/s12916-015-0310-y

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