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Mitochondria are Our Energy Producers

Mitochondria are small cell structures that are outside of the nucleus of a cell that are the essential energy producing cellular component and considered the power plants of cells. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) are derived from maternal cells only as the paternal DNA from sperm are abolished after the egg is fertilized . Mitochondria are found in every organism with cells that contain a nucleus.  Mitochondria are found in mammals, fish, trees, plants, insects but not in viruses or bacteria.  The origin of mtDNA is thought to be from ancient bacterial ancestors and is now incorporated as a separate unit in all living cells.

Mitochondria are Complex and Vulnerable to Harm from Toxins

The structure of these round or oval shaped mitochondria is complex with a double cell membrane with multiple infoldings of the inner membrane that have many critical cellular functions.  Not only do they convert energy from nutrients (sugars, proteins, fats)  to ATP, the universal cellular energy unit, they also function in an important regulatory manner,  signaling programmed cell death,  steroid hormone biosynthesis, calcium, copper, and iron homeostasis, and they indirectly affect cell replication. About 1000 to 1500  proteins are imported into the mitochondria to carry out these functions thus mitochondria in different organ cells have different levels of these proteins.  Mitochondria have their own DNA and replicate within the cell. The DNA in mitochondria, however, are not protected by the nucleus and do not have their own DNA repair mechanisms thus are more vulnerable to DNA damage through a variety of toxicants.

Oxidation is a primary Mechanism of Harm to Mitochondria


Mutations in Mitochondrial DNA are Inherited

Mutations can occur that can be inherited by the next generation. Mitochondrial mutations are thought to be related to aging, cancer and neurodegenerative disease. 


Mitochondrial Effects Research




Newest Articles

  • Role of Mitochondria in the Oxidative Stress Induced by Electromagnetic Fields: Focus on Reproductive Systems. (2018) Santini SJ et al. . Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2018 Nov 8;2018.

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