Dysfunction of mitochondrial complex I is a feature of human neurodegenerative diseases such as Leber hereditary optic neuropathy and Parkinson's disease. This mitochondrial defect is associated with a recruitment of the mitochondrial-dependent apoptotic pathway in vivo. However, in isolated brain mitochondria, complex I dysfunction caused by either pharmacological or genetic means fails to directly activate this cell death pathway. Instead, deficits of complex I stimulate intramitochondrial oxidative stress, which, in turn, increase the releasable soluble pool of cytochrome c within the mitochondrial intermembrane space. Upon mitochondrial permeabilization by the cell death agonist Bax, more cytochrome c is released to the cytosol from brain mitochondria with impaired complex I activity. Given these results, we propose a model in which defects of complex I lower the threshold for activation of mitochondrial-dependent apoptosis by Bax, thereby rendering compromised neurons more prone to degenerate. This molecular scenario may have far-reaching implications for the development of effective neuroprotective therapies for these incurable illnesses.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 27 2005|
- Parkinson's disease
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