Not surprisingly, mitochondria are important for energetically demanding organs outside the brain including the heart, kidney, and muscle.
Multiple studies have demonstrated that reduced mitophagy exacerbates the degree of acute kidney disease (AKI) and that in turn, enhanced mitophagy protects against different forms of AKI. Furthermore, the expression of proteins important to mitochondrial dynamics are altered in human chronic kidney disease (CKD). Therapeutics that can increase mitophagy have the potential to both reduce damage during AKI and stop the progression to CKD.
The heart contains the highest mitochondrial content of any tissue, making it the most metabolically active organ in the body, with mitochondria comprising ~30% of cell volume in mammalian species. Dysregulation of mitophagy in the heart causes accumulation of dysfunctional mitochondria, loss of myocytes, and contractile dysfunction. Data suggests that increasing mitophagy has the potential to both act as a preventative for cardiac aging and reduce damage following cardiac injury such as myocardial infarction.