Mitochondrial Biogenesis as a Pharmacological Target: A New Approach to Acute and Chronic Diseases

Ryan M. Whitaker, Daniel Corum, Craig C. Beeson, Rick G. Schnellmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

144 Scopus citations


Mitochondrial dysfunction is a key pathophysiological component of many acute and chronic diseases. Maintenance of mitochondrial homeostasis through the balance of mitochondrial turnover, fission and fusion, and generation of new mitochondria via mitochondrial biogenesis is critical for tissue health. Pharmacological activation of mitochondrial biogenesis can enhance oxidative metabolism and tissue bioenergetics, and improve organ function in conditions characterized by mitochondrial dysfunction. However, owing to the complexity of mitochondrial assembly and maintenance, identification of specific activators of mitochondrial biogenesis has been difficult. This review provides an overview of the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in acute and chronic diseases, details the current state of therapeutics for the stimulation of mitochondrial biogenesis and their effects on disease outcomes, describes new screening methodologies to identify novel stimulators and noncanonical pathways of mitochondrial biogenesis, and discusses potential hurdles of mitochondrial biogenesis as a therapeutic strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-249
Number of pages21
JournalAnnual review of pharmacology and toxicology
StatePublished - Jan 6 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Drug screening
  • High-throughput respirometry
  • Mitochondrial homeostasis
  • Tissue bioenergetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology


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