The objective of this review is to outline existing artificial mitochondria transfer techniques and to describe the future steps necessary to develop new therapeutic applications in medicine. Inspired by the symbiotic origin of mitochondria and by the cell's capacity to transfer these organelles to damaged neighbors, many researchers have developed procedures to artificially transfer mitochondria from one cell to another. The techniques currently in use today range from simple coincubations of isolated mitochondria and recipient cells to the use of physical approaches to induce integration. These methods mimic natural mitochondria transfer. In order to use mitochondrial transfer in medicine, we must answer key questions about how to replicate aspects of natural transport processes to improve current artificial transfer methods. Another priority is to determine the optimum quantity and cell/tissue source of the mitochondria in order to induce cell reprogramming or tissue repair, in both in vitro and in vivo applications. Additionally, it is important that the field explores how artificial mitochondria transfer techniques can be used to treat different diseases and how to navigate the ethical issues in such procedures. Without a doubt, mitochondria are more than mere cell power plants, as we continue to discover their potential to be used in medicine.
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© 2017 Andrés Caicedo et al.