Role of Mitochondria in Neurodegenerative Diseases: The Dark Side of the “Energy Factory”

  • Sónia C. CorreiaEmail author
  • Paula I. MoreiraEmail author


Neurodegenerative disease is an umbrella term for a range of pathological conditions primarily characterized by the progressive dysfunction and loss of selective neuronal populations. Bereft of cure and effective disease-modifying therapies, why and how this selective neuronal loss occurs in neurodegenerative diseases remain as the most intriguing and still unsolved questions in the field. Despite this limited knowledge regarding the trigger(s) underlying the different neurodegenerative phenotypes, during the last decades, mitochondrial dysfunction emerged as a common pathological feature being considered a “convergence point” for neurodegeneration. This is not surprising taking into account that neurons are post-mitotic cells with a complex architecture, long lifespan, and energetic requirements that fluctuate in time and space making them particularly reliant on a functional and dynamic mitochondrial network. Within this scenario, the present chapter provides an overview on the role of mitochondrial pathobiology in Alzheimer, Parkinson and Huntington diseases, the most prevalent neurodegenerative diseases. A more comprehensive view on the fundamental role of mitochondrial (mal)function during the pathological course of the abovementioned diseases may offer a new therapeutic window of opportunity to tackle the neurodegenerative phenotypes by bolstering mitochondrial health.


Alzheimer disease Huntington disease Mitochondrial bioenergetics and dynamics Neurodegeneration Parkinson disease 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CNC – Center for Neuroscience and Cell BiologyUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  2. 2.Institute for Interdisciplinary ResearchUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  3. 3.Laboratory of Physiology, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal

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