Markers of mitochondrial energy metabolism and their potential relationships with fatigue in human adults: a scoping review




Energy metabolism, Fatigue, Mitochondria, Oxidative phosphorylation, Review.


This scoping review aimed to synthesize the best available evidence of the associations between molecular and genetic markers of mitochondrial metabolism and fatigue in human adults. The research question guiding this review was, “Are there potential relationships between mitochondrial metabolism markers and fatigue?” The literature search used three terms (mitochondria; fatigue; energy metabolism), which yielded 263 manuscripts and 22 theses/dissertations. The studies included in the review had to meet three criteria: (1) Include adult participants (≥18 years of age); (2) Show a relationship between mitochondrial energy metabolism and fatigue; (3) Be published in English, Spanish, or Portuguese. Of the 17 articles included for a full-text review, some had a cross-sectional design (6/17, 35%), and more than half (12/17, 70%) were published between 2015 and 2020. The predominant population studied were patients diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (9/17, 53%). Most studies (15/17, 88%) assessed fatigue with validated instruments. Mitochondrial markers associated with fatigue are a) mitochondrial transport pathways and respiratory chain, b) mutations in mitochondrial DNA, and c) energy disorders in cells of the immune system, such as natural killer cells. Mitochondrial metabolic activities, such as the production and transport of ATP, are significant components that may help understand the etiology of fatigue. Future directions should include longitudinal study designs, characterization of fatigue phenotypes, and the identification of markers involved in production and transport pathways. The clinical relevance in this field can lead to interventions targeting mitochondrial markers to reduce or prevent fatigue.


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How to Cite

ASSUNÇÃO-LUIZ, A.V., BORGES, P.V., TAVARES BACALÁ, B., TARGINO DOS SANTOS, J.T., GRAVES, L., SALIGAN, L., CASTANHEIRA NASCIMENTO, L. and FLÓRIA-SANTOS, M., 2022. Markers of mitochondrial energy metabolism and their potential relationships with fatigue in human adults: a scoping review. Bioscience Journal [online], vol. 38, pp. e38095. [Accessed5 December 2022]. DOI 10.14393/BJ-v38n0a2022-65195. Available from:



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