Abnormalities of mitochondrial dynamics in neurodegenerative diseases

Ju Gao, Luwen Wang, Jingyi Liu, Fei Xie, Bo Su, Xinglong Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

177 Scopus citations


Neurodegenerative diseases are incurable and devastating neurological disorders characterized by the progressive loss of the structure and function of neurons in the central nervous system or peripheral nervous system. Mitochondria, organelles found in most eukaryotic cells, are essential for neuronal survival and are involved in a number of neuronal functions. Mitochondrial dysfunction has long been demonstrated as a common prominent early pathological feature of a variety of common neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and Huntington’s disease (HD). Mitochondria are highly dynamic organelles that undergo continuous fusion, fission, and transport, the processes of which not only control mitochondrial morphology and number but also regulate mitochondrial function and location. The importance of mitochondrial dynamics in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases has been increasingly unraveled after the identification of several key fusion and fission regulators such as Drp1, OPA1, and mitofusins. In this review, after a brief discussion of molecular mechanisms regulating mitochondrial fusion, fission, distribution, and trafficking, as well as the important role of mitochondrial dynamics for neuronal function, we review previous and the most recent studies about mitochondrial dynamic abnormalities observed in various major neurodegenerative diseases and discuss the possibility of targeting mitochondrial dynamics as a likely novel therapeutic strategy for neurodegenerative diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number25
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Mitochondrial dynamics
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction
  • Mitochondrial fusion and fission
  • Mitochondrial trafficking
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Neurodegenerative diseases
  • Parkinson’s disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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