Mitochondria maintain their numbers by the fusion and fission of preexisting mitochondria. Continuous mitochondrial fusion mixes the compartments, whereas fission segregates morphologically and functionally damaged mitochondria. This changing of their shape allows mitochondria to control the life and death processes of cells, such as apoptosis, the maintenance of cellular homeostasis, and ultimately the processes that occur in neurological disorders and metabolic diseases. GTPase family proteins and their regulators modulate the fusion/fission events, and a type of autophagy known as mitophagy removes damaged mitochondria. Although the molecular mechanistic effects of anesthetics on mitochondria are not yet clear, an enhanced understanding of this knowledge will be useful for the establishment of therapeutic approaches.
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