, Volume 12, Issue 5, pp 979–992 | Cite as

Mitochondrial dynamics in the regulation of neuronal cell death

  • Eric C. C. Cheung
  • Heidi M. McBride
  • Ruth S. SlackEmail author


Mitochondria undergo continuous fission and fusion events in physiological situations. Fragmentation of mitochondria during cell death has been shown to play a key role in cell death progression, including release of the mitochondrial apoptotic proteins. Ultrastructural changes in mitochondria, such as cristae remodeling, is also involved in cell death initiation. Here, we emphasize the important role of mitochondrial fission/fusion machinery in neuronal cell death. Unlike many other cell types such as immortalized cell lines, neurons are distinct morphologically and functionally. We will discuss how this uniqueness presents special challenges in the cellular response to neurotoxic stresses, and how this affects the mitochondrial dynamics in the regulation of cell death in neurons.


Apoptosis Mitochondria Mitochondrial fission/fusion Neurons Excitotoxicity Oxidative stress DNA damage 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric C. C. Cheung
    • 1
  • Heidi M. McBride
    • 2
  • Ruth S. Slack
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.University of Ottawa, Department of Cellular Molecular MedicineOttawa Health Research InstituteOttawa
  2. 2.University of Ottawa Heart InstituteCanada

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