Mitochondria oxidative damage?

MFossel mfossel at
Sun Jul 28 11:06:03 EST 1996

Hello Gary.

Mitochondria are one of the driving sources of aging damage within cells: 
they produce about 95% of the free radicals and as the cell "ages", they
leak.  You are, of course, right about the maternal source of mitchondria.
 Remember, however that the maternal *germ cell* line of mitochondria has
not shown and sign of aging in the past 1-2 billion years since this
particular organelle first took up permanent residence within eukaryotic
cells.  Although (retrospectively in surviving germ cell line
mitochondria) they have not age, they show oxidative degradation within a
few decades in human somatic cells.  This implies that non-mitochondrial
(eg, nuclear genes, etc) factors determine mitochondrial "aging", not
merely mitochondrial damage *per se*.  Telomere theory of aging suggests
that homeostatic defences against (among other things) mitochondrial
oxidative damage are "down-regulated" as the telomere shortens.  Far from
being mutually exclusive, mitochondrial damage plays a pivotal role in the
intracellular aging process in telomere aging theory.  The same in true of
cumulative DNA damage (and down-regulation of DNA repair), protein
turnover rates, etc.  Thanks for your thoughts:  you are pretty close to
hitting the nail on the head

Best wishes,
Michael Fossel, MD, PhD
Author, Reversing Human Aging

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