King's College London

Research portal

Mitochondrial genes are altered in blood early in Alzheimer's disease

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Katie Lunnon ; Aoife Keohane ; Ruth Pidsley ; Stephen Newhouse ; Joanna Riddoch-Contreras ; Elisabeth B. Thubron ; Matthew Devall ; Hikka Soininen ; Iwona Kłoszewska ; Patrizia Mecocci ; Magda Tsolaki ; Bruno Vellas ; Leonard Schalkwyk ; Richard Dobson ; Afshan N. Malik ; John Powell ; Simon Lovestone ; Angela Hodges

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-47
Number of pages12
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Early online date7 Jan 2017
StatePublished - 1 May 2017


King's Authors


Although mitochondrial dysfunction is a consistent feature of Alzheimer's disease in the brain and blood, the molecular mechanisms behind these phenomena are unknown. Here we have replicated our previous findings demonstrating reduced expression of nuclear-encoded oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) subunits and subunits required for the translation of mitochondrial-encoded OXPHOS genes in blood from people with Alzheimer's disease and mild cognitive impairment. Interestingly this was accompanied by increased expression of some mitochondrial-encoded OXPHOS genes, namely those residing closest to the transcription start site of the polycistronic heavy chain mitochondrial transcript (MT-ND1, MT-ND2, MT-ATP6, MT-CO1, MT-CO2, MT-C03) and MT-ND6 transcribed from the light chain. Further we show that mitochondrial DNA copy number was unchanged suggesting no change in steady-state numbers of mitochondria. We suggest that an imbalance in nuclear and mitochondrial genome-encoded OXPHOS transcripts may drive a negative feedback loop reducing mitochondrial translation and compromising OXPHOS efficiency, which is likely to generate damaging reactive oxygen species.

Download statistics

No data available

View graph of relations

© 2015 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454