Advances in the understanding of mitochondrial DNA as a pathogenic factor in inflammatory diseases

Gwo Tzer Ho, Ray K. Boyapati, Arina Tamborska, David A. Dorward

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

116 Citations (Scopus)


Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) has many similarities with bacterial DNA because of their shared common ancestry. Increasing evidence demonstrates mtDNA to be a potent danger signal that is recognised by the innate immune system and can directly modulate the inflammatory response. In humans, elevated circulating mtDNA is found in conditions with significant tissue injury such as trauma and sepsis and increasingly in chronic organ-specific and systemic illnesses such as steatohepatitis and systemic lupus erythematosus. In this review, we examine our current understanding of mtDNA-mediated inflammation and how the mechanisms regulating mitochondrial homeostasis and mtDNA release represent exciting and previously under-recognised important factors in many human inflammatory diseases, offering many new translational opportunities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number169
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Inflammatory diseases
  • Mitochondrial DNA
  • MtDNA
  • MtDNA-mediated inflammation

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