Mitochondrial biology, targets, and drug delivery

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Abstract

In recent years, mitochondrial medicine has emerged as a new discipline resting at the intersection of mitochondrial biology, pathology, and pharmaceutics. The central role of mitochondria in critical cellular processes such as metabolism and apoptosis has placed mitochondria at the forefront of cell science. Advances in mitochondrial biology have revealed that these organelles continually undergo fusion and fission while functioning independently and in complex cellular networks, establishing direct membrane contacts with each other and with other organelles. Understanding the diverse cellular functions of mitochondria has contributed to understanding mitochondrial dysfunction in disease states. Polyplasmy and heteroplasmy contribute to mitochondrial phenotypes and associated dysfunction. Residing at the center of cell biology, cellular functions, and disease pathology and being laden with receptors and targets, mitochondria are beacons for pharmaceutical modification. This review presents the current state of mitochondrial medicine with a focus on mitochondrial function, dysfunction, and common disease; mitochondrial receptors, targets, and substrates; and mitochondrial drug design and drug delivery with a focus on the application of nanotechnology to mitochondrial medicine. Mitochondrial medicine is at the precipice of clinical translation; the objective of this review is to aid in the advancement of mitochondrial medicine from infancy to application.

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