The Optic Nerve at Stake: Update on Environmental Factors Modulating Expression of Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy

Biomedicines. 2024 Mar 6;12(3):584. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines12030584.


Optic neuropathies are characterized by the degeneration of the optic nerves and represent a considerable individual and societal burden. Notably, Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) is a devastating vision disease caused by mitochondrial gene mutations that hinder oxidative phosphorylation and increase oxidative stress, leading to the loss of retinal ganglion neurons and axons. Loss of vision is rapid and severe, predominantly in young adults. Penetrance is incomplete, and the time of onset is unpredictable. Recent findings revealed that the incidence of genetic LHON susceptibility is around 1 in 1000, much higher than believed till now. Environmental factors are critical in LHON triggering or severity. Families at risk have a very strong demand for how to prevent the onset or limit the severity of the disease. Here, we review recent knowledge of the extrinsic determinants of LHON expression, including lifestyle, dietary supplements, common chemicals, and drugs.

PMID:38540197 | DOI:10.3390/biomedicines12030584