Recent advances in mitochondria-targeting theranostic agents

Possessing diagnostic imaging and therapeutic functions, mitochondria-targeted theranostic agents can significantly optimize the treatment process and promote precision medicine. This review summarizes the research progress on these agents and the commonly used diagnostic modalities and therapeutic strategies. It also discusses various therapeutic agent categories and their disease applications, addressing unresolved issues and envisioning future directions in the field.


For its vital role in maintaining cellular activity and survival, mitochondrion is highly involved in various diseases, and several strategies to target mitochondria have been developed for specific imaging and treatment. Among these approaches, theranostic may realize both diagnosis and therapy with one integrated material, benefiting the simplification of treatment process and candidate drug evaluation. A variety of mitochondria-targeting theranostic agents have been designed based on the differential structure and composition of mitochondria, which enable more precise localization within cellular mitochondria at disease sites, facilitating the unveiling of pathological information while concurrently performing therapeutic interventions. Here, progress of mitochondria-targeting theranostic materials reported in recent years along with background information on mitochondria-targeting and therapy have been briefly summarized, determining to deliver updated status and design ideas in this field to readers.

Author list:

Kun Qian, Shu Gao, Zhaoning Jiang, Qihang Ding, Zhen Cheng*

How to cite:

K. Qian, S. Gao, Z. Jiang, Q. Ding, Z. Cheng, Exploration 2024, 20230063.