Mitochondrial Psychobiology: Foundations and Applications

Author: Martin Picard1,2,3, Caroline Trumpff1, Yan Burelle4,5
1 Department of Psychiatry, Division of Behavioral Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY, 10032, USA.
2 Department of Neurology, H. Houston Merritt Center, Columbia Translational Neuroscience Initiative, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY, 10032, USA.
3 Columbia Aging Center, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, New York, NY, 10032, USA.
4 Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada.
5 Interdisciplinary School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada.
Conference/Journal: Curr Opin Behav Sci
Date published: 2019 Aug 1
Other: Volume ID: 28 , Pages: 142-151 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1016/j.cobeha.2019.04.015. , Word Count: 181

Mitochondrial psychobiology is the study of the interactions between psychological states and the biological processes that take place within mitochondria. It also examines how mitochondrial behavior influence neural, endocrine, and immune systems known to transduce psychological experiences into health outcomes. Unlike traditional biological outcomes and mediators, mitochondria are dynamic and multifunctional living organisms. By leveraging a variety of laboratory tools including omics, scientists can now map mitochondrial behavior at multiple levels of complexity - from isolated molecular markers to dynamic functional and signaling outcomes. Here we discuss current efforts to develop relevant measures of mitochondrial behavior in accessible human tissues, increase their biological specificity by applying precise measurements in defined cell populations, create composite indices reflecting mitochondrial health, and integrate these approaches with psycho-neuro-endocrino-immune outcomes. This systematic inter-disciplinary effort will help move the field of mitochondrial psychobiology towards a predictive science explaining how, and to what extent, mitochondria contribute to the biological embedding of stress and other psychological states.

Keywords: PBMCs; PNEI; blood; leukocytes; machine learning; mind-body; mitochondria; predictive modeling; psychoneuroendocrinology; psychosomatic medicine; stress; translational.

PMID: 32637466 PMCID: PMC7339630 DOI: 10.1016/j.cobeha.2019.04.015