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Insight into mitochondrial diseases

A fundamental new understanding of programs that control energy production in the human body provides new clues to help the development of therapeutics for a broad range of mitochondrial diseases.

Mitochondria are microscopic parts of human cells that produce the energy required for life. Mitochondrial diseases are a group of disorders caused by dysfunctional mitochondria and while symptoms vary, they can include poor growth, loss of muscle coordination, muscle weakness, visual problems, hearing problems, learning disabilities, heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease, gastrointestinal disorders, respiratory disorders, neurological problems, autonomic dysfunction, and dementia.

“We have found how mitochondrial genes regulate the energy requirements in the human body’s tissues,” one of the study authors said. “For example, tissues that need more energy such as the heart or brain have more active mitochondrial genes than tissues with lower energy demands such as the skin.”

Read more at The University of Western Australia

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