Sepsis-induced cardiac mitochondrial damage and potential therapeutic interventions in the elderly

Qun S. Zang, Steven E. Wolf, Joseph P. Minei

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The incidence of sepsis and its attendant mortality risk are significantly increased with aging. Thus, severe sepsis in the elderly is likely to become an emerging concern in critical care units. Cardiac dysfunction is an important component of multi-organ failure after sepsis. In our laboratory, utilizing a pneumonia-related sepsis animal model, our research has been focused on the mechanisms underlying sepsis-induced cardiac failure. In this review, based on findings from others and ours, we discussed age-dependent decay in mitochondria and the role of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (mtROS) in sepsis-induced cardiac inflammation and autophagy. Our recent discovery of a potential signal transduction pathway that triggers myocardial mitochondrial damage is also discussed. Because of the significance of mitochondria damage in the aging process and in sepsis pathogenesis, we hypothesize that specific enhancing mitochondrial antioxidant defense by mitochondria-targeted antioxidants (MTAs) may provide important therapeutic potential in treating elder sepsis patients. In this review, we summarized the categories of currently published MTA molecules and the results of preclinical evaluation of MTAs in sepsis and aging models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-149
Number of pages13
JournalAging and Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Autophagy
  • Cardiac function
  • Inflammation
  • Mitochondria
  • Mitochondria-targeted antioxidants
  • Sepsis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cell Biology


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