Background: The mitochondrion is a multi-functional organelle that is mainly responsible
for energy supply in the mammalian cells. Over 100 human diseases are attributed to mitochondrial
dysfunction. Mitochondrial therapy (mitotherapy) aims to transfer functional exogenous mitochondria
into mitochondria-defective cells for recovery of the cell viability and consequently, prevention of the
Objective: The review summarizes the evidence on exogenous mitochondria that can directly enter
mammalian cells for disease therapy following local and intravenous administration, and suggests that
when healthy cells donate their mitochondria to damaged cells, the mitochondrial transfer between cells
serve as a new mode of cell rescue. Then the transferred mitochondria play their roles in recipient cells,
including energy production and maintenance of cell function.
Conclusion: Mitotherapy makes the of modulation of cell survival possible, and it would be a potential
therapeutic strategy for mitochondrial diseases.