Mitochondria play a major role in neurodegeneration. They also have an important role in innate immunity and inflammation. Multiple sclerosis is an intriguing disease as it has both active neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative components in its pathogenesis. Current evidence suggests that mitochondrial dysfunction occurs in the in brain and blood mononuclear cells from individuals with MS, shown by impaired mtDNA maintenance, mtDNA point mutations, respiratory chain deficiencies and mitochondrial swelling and accumulation. MtDNA has also been found playing a potential role in the inflammatory process of the MS pathogenesis.
By improving mitochondrial function in patients with progressive MS, neuronal metabolism may improve and thus prevent or delay the neurodegeneration and clinical progression in these patients.