Mitochondria are the chief energy generators within the cell with diverse functions. Cellular function has come a long way just during my 45 years of Medical and Pulmonary practice. At that time, we were studying and reviewing cells, cytoplasm, nuclei, nucleoli and just beginning with early information on DNA. The ATS was preparing for this huge increase in cellular function. It named a journal entirely for this research, the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology in July 1989 which at two volumes per year is currently completing volume 58 this month. We now have numerous articles with presentations this week on the chromosomes, DNA, and the source of the energy generating system at the cellular level, the mitochondria. Dysfunction at this level is illuminating the causes of some chronic diseases.
Mitochondria are a chief energy generator and essential to maintain cellular homeostasis, including diverse roles in intracellular signaling that can define cell function and response to external stimuli. Mitochondrial dysfunction has emerged as a significant underpinning for disease pathogenesis, being involved with inflammation, tissue remodeling, and aberrant wound repair. This is associated with aberrant mitochondrial dynamics, response to and regulation of oxidative stress, and altered intracellular calcium flux. This symposium highlights emerging understanding of the breadth and integrated pathobiological responses and roles for mitochondria, as well as the potential for this knowledge to inform development of mitochondria targeting therapies. Pharmacology with treatment with drugs is advancing to the intracellular understanding of not only immune mechanism, but also to the mitochondrial DNA level. The future is advancing rather rapidly.