As the crucial powerhouse for cell metabolism and tissue survival, the mitochondrion frequently undergoes morphological or positional changes when responding to various stresses and energy demands. In addition to intracellular changes, mitochondria can also be transferred intercellularly. Besides restoring stressed cells and damaged tissues due to mitochondrial dysfunction, the intercellular mitochondrial transfer also occurs under physiological conditions.
In this review, the phenomenon of mitochondrial transfer is described according to its function under both physiological and pathological conditions, including tissue homeostasis, damaged tissue repair, tumor progression, and immunoregulation. Then, the mechanisms that contribute to this process are summarized, such as the trigger factors and transfer routes. Furthermore, various perspectives are explored to better understand the mysteries of cell–cell mitochondrial trafficking. In addition, potential therapeutic strategies for mitochondria-targeted application to rescue tissue damage and degeneration, as well as the inhibition of tumor progression, are discussed.