Mouse neuron showing mitochondria (red and green) and nucleus (blue). Credit: McMurray lab.

Mitochondria (red and green) power cellular activities in this neuron's nucleus (blue) and other components. Mitochondria can be damaged by harmful reactive oxygen species, and this damage is associated with Huntington's and other neurodegenerative diseases. Antioxidants may mitigate the effects. Because these molecules don't target mitochondria, researchers are designing synthetic ones that do. One collaborative team recently reported developing and testing an antioxidant compound in a mouse model of Huntington's that improved mitochondrial function and suppressed symptoms of the disease. More testing is needed to determine the therapeutic potential in humans. Image courtesy of the McMurray lab. Read more... Link to external Website

Featured in the December 20, 2012, issue of Biomedical Beat.