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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

LHON and other optic nerve atrophies: the mitochondrial connection.

The clinical, biochemical and genetic features of Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) are reviewed. The etiology of LHON is complex, but the primary risk factor is a mutation in one of the seven mitochondrial genes that encode subunits of respiratory chain complex I. The pathogenesis of LHON is not yet understood, but one plausible model is that increased or altered mitochondrial ROS production renders the retinal ganglion cells vulnerable to apoptotic cell death. In addition to LHON, there are a large number of other optic nerve degenerative disorders including autosomal dominant optic atrophy, the toxic/nutritional optic neuropathies and glaucoma. A review of the recent scientific literature suggests that these disorders also involve mitochondrial dysfunction or altered mitochondrial signaling pathways in their pathogenesis. This mitochondrial link provides new avenues of experimental investigation to these major causes of loss of vision.[1]


  1. LHON and other optic nerve atrophies: the mitochondrial connection. Howell, N. Developments in ophthalmology. (2003) [Pubmed]
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