Multiple Targets for Drug-Induced Mitochondrial Toxicity

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18 Scopus citations


Mitochondrial toxicity is rapidly gaining the interest of researchers and practitioners as a prominent liability in drug discovery and development, accounting for a growing proportion of preclinical drug attrition and post-market withdrawals or black box warnings by the U.S. FDA. To date, the focus of registries of drugs that elicit mitochondrial toxicity has been largely restricted to those that either inhibit the mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) or uncouple mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation. Less appreciated are the toxicities that are secondary to the drug affecting either the molecular regulation, assembly or incorporation of the ETC into the inner mitochondrial membrane or those that limit substrate availability. The current article describes the complexities of molecular events and biochemical pathways required to sustain mitochondrial fidelity and substrate homeostasis with examples of drugs that interfere which the various pathways. The principal objective of this review is to shed light on the broader scope of drug-induced mitochondrial toxicities and how these secondary targets may account for a large portion of drug failures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2488-2492
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent medicinal chemistry
Issue number20
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015


  • Drugs
  • environmental chemicals
  • mitochondria
  • toxicity


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