The Department of Biomedicine

BBB seminar: Karl Johan Tronstad

Mitochondria and cell proliferation

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Karl Johan Tronstad
Department of Biomedicine, University of Bergen

Deviations in mitochondrial functions are linked to diseases such as obesity related disorders and diabetes, as well as cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. Cancer cells, for instance, withstand an adverse microenvironment by virtue of metabolic adaptation which at least in part involves the mitochondria. Characteristic changes in mitochondrial properties have been reported in cancers of various origins. It is therefore likely that such adaptation is essential for the development of a malignant phenotype, which includes abnormal cancer cell accumulation under circumstances where normal cells are restricted.

Mitochondria play important roles in cellular energy metabolism, free radical generation, and apoptosis. The functions of mitochondria as energy producers and apoptotic regulators may be considered separately, but more and more data demonstrate that they meet at several levels. We have investigated how mitochondrial alterations, induced by nutritional and pharmacological modulation, affect energy metabolism and cell death regulation.