Generation and Release of Mitochondrial-Derived Vesicles in Health, Aging and Disease

Anna Picca, Flora Guerra, Riccardo Calvani*, Hélio José Coelho-Junior, Maurizio Bossola, Francesco Landi, Roberto Bernabei, Cecilia Bucci, Emanuele Marzetti

*Corresponding author

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mitochondria are intracellular organelles involved in a myriad of activities. To safeguard their vital functions, mitochondrial quality control (MQC) systems are in place to support organelle plasticity as well as physical and functional connections with other cellular compartments. In particular, mitochondrial interactions with the endosomal compartment support the shuttle of ions and metabolites across organelles, while those with lysosomes ensure the recycling of obsolete materials. The extrusion of mitochondrial components via the generation and release of mitochondrial-derived vesicles (MDVs) has recently been described. MDV trafficking is now included among MQC pathways, possibly operating via mitochondrial-lysosomal contacts. Since mitochondrial dysfunction is acknowledged as a hallmark of aging and a major pathogenic factor of multiple age-associated conditions, the analysis of MDVs and, more generally, of extracellular vesicles (EVs) is recognized as a valuable research tool. The dissection of EV trafficking may help unravel new pathophysiological pathways of aging and diseases as well as novel biomarkers to be used in research and clinical settings. Here, we discuss (1) MQC pathways with a focus on mitophagy and MDV generation; (2) changes of MQC pathways during aging and their contribution to inflamm-aging and progeroid conditions; and (3) the relevance of MQC failure to several disorders, including neurodegenerative conditions (i.e., Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease) and cardiovascular disease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • biomarkers
  • exosomes
  • extracellular vesicles
  • geroprotective interventions
  • mitochondrial damage
  • mitochondrial dynamics
  • mitochondrial-derived vesicles (MDVs)
  • mitochondrial-lysosomal axis
  • mitophagy
  • neurodegeneration


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