The role of mitochondria-targeted antioxidant MitoQ in neurodegenerative disease

31 Jan 2019

The discovery of charged molecules being able to cross the mitochondrial membrane has prompted many scholars to exploit this idea to find a way of preventing or slowing down aging. In this paper, we will focus on mitochondria-targeted antioxidants, which are cationic derivatives of plastoquinone, and in particular on the mitochondria-targeted antioxidant therapy of neurodegenerative diseases. It is well known that the accumulation of amyloid-β peptide (Aβ) in mitochondria and its related mitochondrial dysfunction are critical signatures of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In another neurodegenerative disease, Parkinson’s disease (PD), the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra and the production of Lewy bodies are among their pathological features. Pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease has been frequently linked to mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress. Recent studies show that MitoQ, a mitochondria-targeted antioxidant, may possess therapeutic potential for Aβ-related and oxidative stress-associated neurodegenerative diseases, especially AD. Although MitoQ has been developed to the stage of clinical trials in PD, its true clinical effect still need further verification. This review aims to discuss the role of mitochondrial pathology in neurodegenerative diseases, as well as the recent development of mitochondrial targeted antioxidants as a potential treatment for these diseases by removing excess oxygen free radicals and inhibiting lipid peroxidation in order to improve mitochondrial function.