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Journal of Aging Research
Volume 2011, Article ID 257093, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.4061/2011/257093
Review Article

DNA Damage and Base Excision Repair in Mitochondria and Their Role in Aging

Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Complutense University, Plaza Ramón y Cajal s/n. 28040 Madrid, Spain

Received 19 October 2010; Accepted 14 December 2010

Academic Editor: Alberto Sanz

Copyright © 2011 Ricardo Gredilla. 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

During the last decades, our knowledge about the processes involved in the aging process has exponentially increased. However, further investigation will be still required to globally understand the complexity of aging. Aging is a multifactorial phenomenon characterized by increased susceptibility to cellular loss and functional decline, where mitochondrial DNA mutations and mitochondrial DNA damage response are thought to play important roles. Due to the proximity of mitochondrial DNA to the main sites of mitochondrial-free radical generation, oxidative stress is a major source of mitochondrial DNA mutations. Mitochondrial DNA repair mechanisms, in particular the base excision repair pathway, constitute an important mechanism for maintenance of mitochondrial DNA integrity. The results reviewed here support that mitochondrial DNA damage plays an important role in aging.