The translocator protein 18 kDa (TSPO) is localized in the outer mitochondrial membrane
of many cell types and its expression is found to be up-regulated under various pathological conditions
such as cancer, inflammation, mechanical lesions, and neurological diseases, e.g. amyotrophic lateral
sclerosis (ALS). Its primary function is to mediate the transport of cholesterol into the inner
compartments of mitochondria. Moreover, TSPO is interacting and building up functional complexes
with other mitochondrial proteins such as the voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC), the adenine
nucleotide transporter (ANT), hexokinase I and II and Glycogen synthase kinase 3 beta (GSK3β). This
mini review will focus on the role of TSPO as a central regulator of mitochondrial function with regard to pathologic
states and as a target for new therapeutic strategies for the treatment of psychiatric disorders.
Keywords: Cholesterol, TSPO, mitochondria, XBD-173, PK11195.
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