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Papers of the Week

Papers: 11 May 2024 - 17 May 2024

2024 May 13

Biochem Pharmacol


Induction of mitochondrial toxicity by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): The ultimate trade-off governing the therapeutic merits and demerits of these wonder drugs.


Mazumder S, Bindu S, Debsharma S, Bandyopadhyay U


Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are most extensively used over-the-counter FDA-approved analgesic medicines for treating inflammation, musculoskeletal pain, arthritis, pyrexia and menstrual cramps. Moreover, aspirin is widely used against cardiovascular complications. Owing to their non-addictive nature, NSAIDs are also commissioned as safer opioid-sparing alternatives in acute trauma and post-surgical treatments. In fact, therapeutic spectrum of NSAIDs is expanding. These “wonder-drugs” are now repurposed against lung diseases, diabetes, neurodegenerative disorders, fungal infections and most notably cancer, due to their efficacy against chemoresistance, radio-resistance and cancer stem cells. However, prolonged NSAID treatment accompany several adverse effects. Mechanistically, apart from cyclooxygenase inhibition, NSAIDs directly target mitochondria to induce cell death. Interestingly, there are also incidences of dose-dependent effects where NSAIDs are found to improve mitochondrial health thereby suggesting plausible mitohormesis. While mitochondria-targeted effects of NSAIDs are discretely studied, a comprehensive account emphasizing the multiple dimensions in which NSAIDs affect mitochondrial structure-function integrity, leading to cell death, is lacking. This review discusses the current understanding of NSAID-mitochondria interactions in the pathophysiological background. This is essential for assessing the risk-benefit trade-offs of NSAIDs for judiciously strategizing NSAID-based approaches to manage pain and inflammation as well as formulating effective anti-cancer strategies. We also discuss recent developments constituting selective mitochondria-targeted NSAIDs including theranostics, mitocans, chimeric small molecules, prodrugs and nanomedicines that rationally optimize safer application of NSAIDs. Thus, we present a comprehensive understanding of therapeutic merits and demerits of NSAIDs with mitochondria at its cross roads. This would help in NSAID-based disease management research and drug development.