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Mitophagy is a selective engulfment and degradation of damaged mitochondria through the cellular autophagy machinery, a major mechanism responsible for mitochondrial quality control. Increased accumulation of damaged mitochondria in the Alzheimer's disease (AD) human brain are evident, although underlying mechanisms largely elusive. Recent studies indicate impaired mitophagy may contribute to the accumulation of damaged mitochondria in cross-species AD animal models and in AD patient iPSC-derived neurons. Studies from AD highlight feed-forward vicious cycles between defective mitophagy, and the principal AD pathological hallmarks, including amyloid-β plaques, tau tangles, and inflammation. The concomitant and intertwined connections among those hallmarks of AD and the absence of a real humanized AD rodent model present a challenge on how to determine if defective mitophagy is an early event preceding and causal of Tau/Aβ proteinopathies. Whilst further studies are required to understand these relationships, targeting defective mitophagy holds promise as a new therapeutic strategy for AD.

Original publication




Journal article


Front Cell Dev Biol

Publication Date





Alzheimer’s disease, aging, memory, mitophagy, neuroprotection