Mitochondria and mental health

Stress, especially chronic stress, impairs the activity of mitochondria and their efficiency in replicating their genome. Human cells contain numerous mitochondria that harbor multiple copies of their own genome, consisting of a mixture of wild-type and variant mtDNA - a condition known as mitochondrial heteroplasmy. The number of mitochondrial genomes in a cell and the degree of heteroplasmy can serve as an indicator of mitochondrial allostatic load. Changes in mtDNA copy number and the proportion of variant mtDNA may be associated with mental disorders and symptom severity, suggesting the involvement of mitochondrial dysfunction in the development of mental disorders.

Recently, we successfully demonstrated that mtDNA copy number and degree of heteroplasmy are involved in the development of PTSD and treatment outcome.

Our results suggest that residential treatment may reduce signs of mitochondrial allostatic load (MAL), which could have a positive impact on mental health. The quantification of mtDNA and the determination of cellular heteroplasmy could be valuable biomarkers for