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Ferroptosis is a type of oxidative cell death that can occur in neurodegenerative diseases and involves damage to mitochondria. Previous studies demonstrated that preventing mitochondrial dysfunction can rescue cells from ferroptotic cell death. However, the complexity of mitochondrial dysfunction and the timing of therapeutic interventions make it difficult to develop an effective treatment strategy against ferroptosis in neurodegeneration conditions. In this study, we explored the use of mitochondrial transplantation as a novel therapeutic approach for preventing ferroptotic neuronal cell death. Our data showed that isolated exogenous mitochondria were incorporated into both healthy and ferroptotic immortalized hippocampal HT-22 cells and primary cortical neurons (PCN). The mitochondrial incorporation was accompanied by increased metabolic activity and cell survival through attenuating lipid peroxidation and mitochondrial superoxide production. Further, the function of mitochondrial complexes I, III and V activities contributed to the neuroprotective activity of exogenous mitochondria. Similarly, we have also showed the internalization of exogenous mitochondria in mouse PCN; these internalized mitochondria were found to effectively preserve the neuronal networks when challenged with ferroptotic stimuli. The administration of exogenous mitochondria into the axonal compartment of a two-compartment microfluidic device induced mitochondrial transportation to the cell body, which prevented fragmentation of the neuronal network in ferroptotic PCN. These findings suggest that mitochondria transplantation may be a promising therapeutic approach for protecting neuronal cells from ferroptotic cell death.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-72
Number of pages11
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Early online date1-Aug-2023
Publication statusPublished - 1-Nov-2023


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