Brain development is highly demanding energetically, requiring neurons to have tightly regulated and highly dynamic metabolic machinery to achieve their ultimately complex cellular architecture. Mitochondria are the main source of neuronal adenosine 5′-triphosphate (ATP) and regulate critical neurodevelopmental processes including calcium signaling, iron homeostasis, oxidative stress, and apoptosis. Metabolic perturbations during critical neurodevelopmental windows impair neurological function not only acutely during the period of rapid growth/ development, but also in adulthood long after the early-life insult has been rectified. Our laboratory uses iron deficiency (ID), the most common nutrient deficiency, as a model of early-life metabolic disruptions of neuronal metabolism because iron has a central role in mitochondrial function. Recently, we published that ID reduces hippocampal neuronal dendritic mitochondrial motility and size. In this commentary, we delve deeper into speculation about potential cellular mechanisms that drive the effects of neuronal ID on mitochondrial dynamics and quality control pathways. We propose that understanding the basic cellular biology of how mitochondria respond and adapt to ID and other metabolic perturbations during brain development may be a key factor in designing strategies to reduce the risk of later-life psychiatric, cognitive, and neurodegenerative disorders associated with early-life ID.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
FuNDINg: The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The writing of this manuscript was supported by National Institutes of Health Grants R01 HD094809 and F32 HD085576.
© The Author(s) 2019.
- Energy metabolism