Neuronal Mitochondria are Different: Relevance to Neurodegenerative Disease

Sarah B. Berman, J. Marie Hardwick

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


There are many gaps in basic knowledge about mitochondria, though new research efforts are beginning to fill these gaps as described in this chapter. Notably, there is little understanding of how mitochondrial organelles differ between neurons and other cell types, or within a single cell type. It is also not clear how these dynamic organelles maintain quality control and how entire organelles or portions thereof are turned over or degraded through mitophagy and other mechanisms. Dysregulation of mitochondrial dynamics is linked to compromised quality control, and is increasingly implicated in many neurodegenerative diseases. Neurons have unique properties, including their postmitotic state, and the distribution of mitochondria in distal axons. These and other features of neurons may contribute to their slow rate of mitochondrial turnover under conditions that readily degrade mitochondria in proliferating cells. The chapter also discusses how BCL-xL regulates mitochondrial dynamics and mitochondrial energetics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Functions, Disease-Related Dysfunctions, and Therapeutic Targeting of Neuronal Mitochondria
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781119017127
ISBN (Print)9781118709238
StatePublished - Sep 25 2015


  • BCL-xL
  • Mitochondrial dynamics
  • Mitochondrial energetics
  • Mitophagy
  • Neurodegenerative disease
  • Neuronal mitochondria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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