Neuroimage Clin. 2022;36:103240. doi: 10.1016/j.nicl.2022.103240. Epub 2022 Oct 25.
Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON) is an inherited mitochondrial retinal disease that causes the degeneration of retinal ganglion cells and leads to drastic loss of visual function. In the last decades, there has been a growing interest in using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to better understand mechanisms of LHON beyond the retina. This is partially due to the emergence of gene-therapies for retinal diseases, and the accompanying expanded need for reliably quantifying and monitoring visual processing and treatment efficiency in patient populations. This paper aims to draw a current picture of key findings in this field so far, the challenges of using neuroimaging methods in patients with LHON, and important open questions that MRI can help address about LHON disease mechanisms and prognoses, including how downstream visual brain regions are affected by the disease and treatment and why, and how scope for neural plasticity in these pathways may limit or facilitate recovery.