Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.
Clinical implications and pathological associations of circulating mitochondrial DNA
Academic Editor: Mikhail F Alexeyev
Mitochondria are membrane-enclosed organelles, the energy-producing centers in almost all eukaryotic cells. The evolutionary emergence of mitochondria is a result of the endocytosis of a-proteobacteria. There are several characteristic features which refer to its prokaryotic ancestors including its independent sets of double-stranded mitochondrial DNA, which is uniquely circular in form and contains a significant amount of unmethylated DNA as CpG islands. Resent research has proven that free mitochondrial DNA found in blood was associated with innate immunomodulation in a broad-range of clinical conditions. Upon release, mitochondrial DNA acts as a danger-associated molecular pattern in the circulation, it is recognized by pattern recognition receptors and it facilitates inflammatory responses. Besides its high receptor activation potential, mitochondrial DNA is likely to perform direct crosstalk with activated leukocytes and to be contributed to other anti-microbial activities. Here we highlight the pathological conditions where cell free mtDNA is involved, describe the potential sources and mechanisms of extracellular mtDNA release and explore evidence for its mechanism of action after being excreted and potential therapeutic strategies.