Dysfunctional mitochondrial bioenergetics and synaptic degeneration in Alzheimer disease

Jason Tang, Alfredo Oliveros, Mi Hyeon Jang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Synapses are sites of high energy demand which are dependent on high levels of mitochondrial derived adenosine triphosphate. Mitochondria within synaptic structures are key for maintenance of functional neurotransmission and this critical biological process is modulated by energy metabolism, mitochondrial distribution, mitochondrial trafficking, and cellular synaptic calcium flux. Synapse loss is presumed to be an early yet progressive pathological event in Alzheimer disease (AD), resulting in impaired cognitive function and memory loss which is particularly prevalent at later stages of disease. Supporting evidence from AD patients and animal models suggests that pathological mitochondrial dynamics indeed occurs early and is highly associated with synaptic lesions and degeneration in AD neurons. This review comprehensively highlights recent findings that describe how synaptic mitochondria pathology involves dysfunctional trafficking of this organelle, to maladaptive epigenetic contributions affecting mitochondrial function in AD. We further discuss how these negative, dynamic alterations impact synaptic function associated with AD. Finally, this review explores how antioxidant therapeutic approaches targeting mitochondria in AD can further clinical research and basic science investigations to advance our in-depth understanding of the pathogenesis of AD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S5-S10
JournalInternational Neurourology Journal
StatePublished - 2019


  • Alzheimer disease
  • Cognitive dysfunction
  • Mitochondria
  • Synaptic plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Urology


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