Mitochondrial Function in Lung Health and Disease

  • Luis Puente-MaestuEmail author
  • Jorge Chancafe-Morgan
Part of the Respiratory Medicine book series (RM, volume 15)


The mitochondrion is a membrane-enclosed organelle found in most eukaryotic cells. In addition to supplying cellular energy, mitochondria are involved in a range of other processes, such as signaling and cell death. The mitochondrion is able to sense PO2 throughout the progressive reduction of cytochrome c with increasing hypoxia. This information is converted into an increase in reactive oxygen species production at complex III that acts as cell signal. Such signal is believed to be responsible for phenomena such as hypoxic vasoconstriction, activation of HIF, and internalization of the sodium-potassium pump of the alveolar epithelium. Mitochondrial DNA mutations are frequent in cancer cells. These mutations lead to an impaired oxidative metabolism and to decreased susceptibility to apoptosis. These two features are needed for survival of the cancer cell. There are two major signaling pathways of apoptosis and one of them involves the mitochondria. Apoptosis plays an important role in most lung diseases in two different ways. First, failure to clear unwanted cells by apoptosis will prolong the inflammation; second, excessive apoptosis may cause diseases. Finally the skeletal muscle dysfunction associated with COPD involves the loss of oxidative capacity, mainly due to the loss of mitochondrial density.


Apoptosis Mitochondria Permeability transition pore Electron transport chain Reactive oxygen species Hypoxic vasoconstriction Cell signaling Skeletal muscle dysfunction Remodeling HIF Mitochondrial DNA mutations 



AMP-activated protein kinase


Apoptotic protease activating factor 1


Adenosine triphosphate


Bcl-2-associated X protein


B-cell lymphoma 2


Cluster of differentiation 95




Coenzyme A


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease


Cytochrome c oxidase


Citrate synthase


Deoxyribonucleic acid


Amiloride-sensitive sodium channels


Fas-associated death domain protein


FAS receptor (FasR) also known as apoptosis antigen 1


Fas ligand


Hydrogen peroxide


Hypoxia-inducible factor


Heme oxygenase 1


Intermembrane space


Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis


Mitochondrial DNA


Mitochondrial permeability transition




Nitrosative reactive species


Molecular oxygen


Tumor protein 53


Prolyl hydroxylase domain-containing protein 2


Oxygen pressure


Permeability transition pore


Mutated variant of green fluorescent protein


Reactive oxygen species


Succinate dehydrogenase


Skeletal muscle dysfunction


Superoxide dismutase


Tumor necrosis factor


TNF receptor-associated death domain


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Respiratory Medicine/NeumologíaHospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañón- Universidad Complutense de MadridMadridSpain

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