Mitophagy could fight Parkinson's disease through antioxidant action

Anthea Di Rita, Flavie Strappazzon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During aging, the process of mitophagy, a system that allows the removal of dysfunctional mitochondria through lysosomal degradation, starts to malfunction. Because of this defect, damaged mitochondria are not removed correctly, and their decomposing components accumulate inside the cells. Dysfunctional mitochondria that are not removed by mitophagy produce high amounts of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and, thus, cause oxidative stress. Oxidative stress, in turn, is very harmful for the cells, neuronal cells, in particular. Consequently, the process of mitophagy plays a crucial role in mitochondria-related disease. Mitochondrial dysfunctions and oxidative stress are well-established factors contributing to Parkinson's disease (PD), one of the most common neurodegenerative disorders. In this review, we report various known antioxidants for PD treatments and describe the stimulation of mitophagy process as a novel and exciting method for reducing oxidative stress in PD patients. We describe the different mechanisms responsible for mitochondria removal through the mitophagy process. In addition, we review the functional connection between mitophagy induction and reduction of oxidative stress in several in vitro models of PD and also agents (drugs and natural compounds) already known to be antioxidants and to be able to activate mitophagy. Finally, we propose that there is an urgent need to test the use of mitophagy-inducing antioxidants in order to fight PD.

Original languageEnglish
JournalReviews in the Neurosciences
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019


  • mitochondrial selective degradation
  • neurodegeneration
  • oxidative stress
  • Parkinsonism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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