Mitochondrial dysfunction in psychiatric morbidity: Current evidence and therapeutic prospects

Lilach Toker, Galila Agam

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cumulating evidence for the involvement of mitochondrial dysfunction in psychiatric disorders leaves little to no doubt regarding the involvement of this pathology in mood disorders. However, mitochondrial abnormalities are also observed in a wide range of disorders spanning from cancer and diabetes to various neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disorders such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, autism, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The apparent lack of specificity questions the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in psychiatric disorders, in general, and in mood disorders, in particular. Is mitochondrial dysfunction a general phenomenon, simplistically rendering brain cells to be more vulnerable to a variety of disease-specific perturbations? Or is it an epiphenomenon induced by various disease-specific factors? Or possibly, the severity and the anatomical region of the dysfunction are the ones responsible for the distinct features of the disorders. Whichever of the aforementioned ones, if any, is correct, “mitochondrial dysfunction” became more of a cliché than a therapeutic target. In this review, we summarize current studies supporting the involvement of mitochondrial dysfunction in different psychiatric disorders. We address the question of specificity and causality of the different findings and provide an alternative explanation for some of the aforementioned questions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2441-2447
Number of pages7
JournalNeuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment
Volume11
DOIs
StatePublished - 24 Sep 2015

Keywords

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Psychiatric disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Stanley foundation brain collection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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