Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Chair of Metabolic Biochemistry

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Mitochondrial Phenotypes in Parkinson's Diseases-A Focus on Human iPSC-Derived Dopaminergic Neurons

Cells. 2021 Dec 7;10(12):3436.

Authors/Editors: Heger LM
Wise RM
Hees JT
Harbauer AB
Burbulla LF
Publication Date: 2021
Type of Publication: Review

Established disease models have helped unravel the mechanistic underpinnings of pathological phenotypes in Parkinson's disease (PD), the second most common neurodegenerative disorder. However, these discoveries have been limited to relatively simple cellular systems and animal models, which typically manifest with incomplete or imperfect recapitulation of disease phenotypes. The advent of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) has provided a powerful scientific tool for investigating the underlying molecular mechanisms of both familial and sporadic PD within disease-relevant cell types and patient-specific genetic backgrounds. Overwhelming evidence supports mitochondrial dysfunction as a central feature in PD pathophysiology, and iPSC-based neuronal models have expanded our understanding of mitochondrial dynamics in the development and progression of this devastating disorder. The present review provides a comprehensive assessment of mitochondrial phenotypes reported in iPSC-derived neurons generated from PD patients' somatic cells, with an emphasis on the role of mitochondrial respiration, morphology, and trafficking, as well as mitophagy and calcium handling in health and disease. Furthermore, we summarize the distinguishing characteristics of vulnerable midbrain dopaminergic neurons in PD and report the unique advantages and challenges of iPSC disease modeling at present, and for future mechanistic and therapeutic applications.

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