The Regulation of Mitochondrial Quality Control Via Autophagy and the Scope for Pharmaceutical and Nutraceutical Approaches

Michelangelo Campanella,

Pharm D, PhD, MRPharmS, PGCAP, FHEA, FRSB1,2

University of London Royal Veterinary College, University of College London Department of Cell and Developmental Biology Consortium for Mitochondrial Research, London, U.K.


Mitochondria are vital organelles that play key roles in energy production and cell death, thereby influencing cell fate. In healthy cells, the removal of damaged mitochondria is closely regulated via the catabolic process of targeted autophagy, called mitophagy. Abnormalities in mitochondrial regulation lead to many age-related diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease. Overabundance of mitochondria is linked with longevity. In this presentation, Campanella describes how regulation of mitophagy is linked with dietary lipids through a mitochondrial translocator protein, TSPO. The availability of lipids can influence mitochondrial regulation and, in turn, systemic health.

Key points

  • Campanella et al., have described a mitochondrial translocator protein (TSPO) which is a negative regulator of mitophagy.
  • TSPO activity is dependent on cholesterol/lipid metabolism, thus the activation of nonselective autophagy and selective (mitophagy) is strictly dependent on nutrient supply.
  • Reduced capacity of mitochondrial control is linked with aging scenarios.
  • Recent studies on mitophagy mechanisms during aging highlight mitochondrial quality control as an attractive target in slowing down aging processes by preventing and tackling related diseases.
  • Food-derived products, such as omega-3 fatty acids, can impact mitochondrial quality control.
  • Better understanding mitochondrial regulation could lead to pharmacological, metabolic and nutritional approaches to control this mechanism and impact diseases of mitochondrial dysregulation.

Clinical relevance

Diet can influence mitochondrial quality and function. In human and animal medicine, dietary supplements such as resveratrol have become available for the prevention and treatment of diseases. Better understanding how diet influences mitochondrial regulation could lead to the development of products that cure or prevent conditions caused by deregulated mitochondrial function.

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This document contains summaries of all presentations from the Companion Animal Summit, held May 3-5, 2018 in Charleston, South Carolina. Please note that these summaries represent overviews of the presentations and may include opinions and research of presenters, which do not necessarily reflect those of the Nestlé Purina Petcare Company.
Produced by the Purina Institute, May 21, 2018


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