In this interesting interview, the topic is mitochondria and their role in aging. Mitochondria are the power plants of the cell, descendants of ancient symbiotic bacteria that still contain a small genome left over from that origin. Small it might be, but it is significant: stochastic damage to mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is one of the root causes of aging. Through a complex chain of events</>, this results a small but significant fraction of cells overtaken by mutant mitochondria and made to export harmful levels of oxidative molecules into surrounding tissues. This, to pick one example, produces oxidized lipids in the bloodstream that irritate blood vessel walls to start the inflammatory cascade that results in atherosclerosis. Quite aside from this process, however, mitochondria also undergo a general decline with advancing age, changing in many ways, and failing to keep up with their primary task of energy store production. This may be a reaction to other forms of damage in the tissue environment, and is particularly problematic in energy-hungry tissues like the brain and muscles.
mitochondriagenomemitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)a complex chain of events</>, this results a small but significant fraction of cells overtaken by mutant mitochondria and made to exportharmful levels of oxidative moleculesoxidized
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