Advances in drug therapy for mitochondrial diseases

Lufei Zhang, Zhaoyong Zhang, Aisha Khan, Hui Zheng, Chao Yuan, Haishan Jiang


Mitochondrial diseases are a group of clinically and genetically heterogeneous disorders driven by oxidative phosphorylation dysfunction of the mitochondrial respiratory chain which due to pathogenic mutations of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) or nuclear DNA (nDNA). Recent progress in molecular genetics and biochemical methodologies has provided a better understanding of the etiology and pathogenesis of mitochondrial diseases, and this has expanded the clinical spectrum of this conditions. But the treatment of mitochondrial diseases is largely symptomatic and thus does not significantly change the course of the disease. Few clinical trials have led to the design of drugs aiming at enhancing mitochondrial function or reversing the consequences of mitochondrial dysfunction which are now used in the clinical treatment of mitochondrial diseases. Several other drugs are currently being evaluated for clinical management of patients with mitochondrial diseases. In this review, the current status of treatments for mitochondrial diseases is described systematically, and newer potential treatment strategies for mitochondrial diseases are also discussed.