Targeting Mitochondria for Healthy Brain Aging

Heather M. Yonutas, Elizabeth Head, Patrick G. Sullivan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Mitochondrial dysfunction has been linked to aging and various age-related neurodegenerative diseases within the brain. These "power plants" of the cell are essential for appropriate metabolism and energy flow within neurons, but have also been found to contribute to metabolic-mediated oxidative stress, and to be a major factor in cell death. Because of this, mitochondria have been proposed as a therapeutic target in models of aging and Alzheimer's disease (AD). With mitochondria being key players in metabolism, dietary interventions and supplementation with various antioxidants and mitochondrial co-factors have been proposed to target mitochondrial dysfunction in order to avoid age- and AD-related deficits. However, results from these studies have been controversial and, to date, there are articles that support and articles that reject the use of mitochondrial targeting interventions. This chapter will explain why mitochondrial targeting interventions are an important area of research, and propose ideas as to why certain studies have failed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFoods and Dietary Supplements in the Prevention and Treatment of Disease in Older Adults
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9780124186866
StatePublished - Jan 27 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research reported in this chapter was supported by the National Institutes of Health under award numbers R01AG12694 (EH) and R01NS062993, R01NS069633 (PGS). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors, and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Acetylcarnitine
  • Age
  • Aging
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Antioxidants
  • CoQ10
  • Coenzyme Q
  • Diet
  • Dietary supplementation
  • Lipoic acid
  • Mitochondria
  • Mitochondrial co-factors
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (all)


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