What makes the mitochondria a killer? Can we condition them to be less destructive?

Elizabeth Murphy, Charles Steenbergen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Cardioprotection, such as preconditioning and postconditioning, has been shown to result in a significant reduction in cell death. Many of the signaling pathways activated by cardioprotection have been elucidated, but there is still a lack of understanding of the mechanisms by which these signaling pathways reduce cell death. Mitochondria have been reported to be an important player in many types of apoptotic and necrotic cell death. If mitochondria play an important role in cell death, then it seems reasonable to consider that cardioprotective mechanisms might act, at least in part, by opposing mitochondrial cell death pathways. One of the major mechanisms of cell death in ischemia-reperfusion is suggested to be the opening of a large conductance pore in the inner mitochondrial membrane, known as the mitochondrial permeability transition pore. Inhibition of this mitochondrial pore appears to be one of the major mechanisms by which cardioprotection reduces cell death. Cardioprotection activates a number of signaling pathways that reduce the level of triggers (reactive oxygen species and calcium) or enhances inhibitors of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore at the start of reperfusion. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Mitochondria and Cardioprotection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1302-1308
Number of pages7
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Cell Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • Calcium
  • Cardioprotection
  • Mitochondria
  • Nitric oxide
  • Phosphorylation
  • Reactive oxygen species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'What makes the mitochondria a killer? Can we condition them to be less destructive?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this