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The mechanisms underlying ageing have been discussed for decades, and advances in molecular and cell biology of the last three decades have accelerated research in this area. Over this period, it has become clear that mitochondrial function, which plays a major role in many cellular pathways from ATP production to nuclear gene expression and epigenetics alterations, declines with age. The emerging concepts suggest novel mechanisms, involving mtDNA quality, mitochondrial dynamics or mitochondrial quality control. In this review, we discuss the impact of mitochondria in the ageing process, the role of mitochondria in reactive oxygen species production, in nuclear gene expression, the accumulation of mtDNA damage and the importance of mitochondrial dynamics and recycling. Declining mitophagy (mitochondrial quality control) may be an important component of human ageing.

Original publication




Journal article


Mammalian genome : official journal of the International Mammalian Genome Society

Publication Date





381 - 395


Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The Women's centre, University of Oxford, Oxford, OX3 9DU, UK.