Skip to main content

18-04-2018 | Osteoarthritis | Review | Article

Mitochondrial DNA variation and the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis phenotypes

Nature Reviews Rheumatology

Authors: Francisco J. Blanco, Ana M. Valdes, Ignacio Rego-Pérez

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group UK


Mitochondria and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation are now recognized as important factors in the development of osteoarthritis (OA). Mitochondria are the energy powerhouses of the cell, and also regulate different processes involved in the pathogenesis of OA including inflammation, apoptosis, calcium metabolism and the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS). Mitochondria contain their own genetic material, mtDNA, which evolved through the sequential accumulation of mtDNA variants to enable humans to adapt to different climates. The ROS and reactive metabolic intermediates that are by-products of mitochondrial metabolism are regulated in part by mtDNA and are among the signals that transmit information between mitochondria and the nucleus. These signals can alter nuclear gene expression and, when disrupted, affect a number of cellular processes and metabolic pathways, leading to disease. mtDNA variation influences OA-associated phenotypes, including those related to metabolism, inflammation and even ageing, as well as nuclear epigenetic regulation. This influence also enables the use of specific mtDNA haplogroups as complementary diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers of OA.

Please log in to get access to this content

Related topics