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Background: The mitochondrion is a multi-functional organelle that is mainly responsible for energy supply in the mammalian cells. Over 100 human diseases are attributed to mitochondrial dysfunction. Mitochondrial therapy (mitotherapy) aims to transfer functional exogenous mitochondria into mitochondria-defective cells for recovery of the cell viability and consequently, prevention of the disease progress.
Objective: The review summarizes the evidence on exogenous mitochondria that can directly enter mammalian cells for disease therapy following local and intravenous administration, and suggests that when healthy cells donate their mitochondria to damaged cells, the mitochondrial transfer between cells serve as a new mode of cell rescue. Then the transferred mitochondria play their roles in recipient cells, including energy production and maintenance of cell function.
Conclusion: Mitotherapy makes the of modulation of cell survival possible, and it would be a potential therapeutic strategy for mitochondrial diseases.
mitotherapy, mitochondrial transplantation, cell-to-cell communication, mitochondrial diseases
School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715