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International Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease
Volume 2009, Article ID 951548, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.4061/2009/951548
Review Article

Mitochondria, Cognitive Impairment, and Alzheimer's Disease

Department of Neuroscience, Neurological Clinic, University of Pisa, Via Roma 67, 56126 Pisa, Italy

Received 30 March 2009; Accepted 22 June 2009

Academic Editor: Patrizia Mecocci

Copyright © 2009 M. Mancuso et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

To date, the beta amyloid (A ) cascade hypothesis remains the main pathogenetic model of Alzheimer's disease (AD), but its role in the majority of sporadic AD cases is unclear. The “mitochondrial cascade hypothesis” could explain many of the biochemical, genetic, and pathological features of sporadic AD. Somatic mutations in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) could cause energy failure, increased oxidative stress, and accumulation of A , which in a vicious cycle reinforce the mtDNA damage and the oxidative stress. Despite the evidence of mitochondrial dysfunction in AD, no causative mutations in the mtDNA have been detected so far. Indeed, results of studies on the role of mtDNA haplogroups in AD are controversial. In this review we discuss the role of the mitochondria, and especially of the mtDNA, in the cascade of events leading to neurodegeneration, dementia, and AD.