Gene therapy for Leber hereditary optic neuropathy

Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2024 Jun 28:1-8. doi: 10.1080/14712598.2024.2359015. Online ahead of print.


INTRODUCTION: Leber hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) is among the most frequent inherited mitochondrial disease, causing a severe visual impairment, mostly in young-adult males. The causative mtDNA variants (the three common are m.11778 G>A/MT-ND4, m.3460 G>A/MT-ND1, and m.14484T>C/MT-ND6) by affecting complex I impair oxidative phosphorylation in retinal ganglion cells, ultimately leading to irreversible cell death and consequent functional loss. The gene therapy based on allotopic expression of a wild-type transgene carried by adeno-associated viral vectors (AVV-based) appears a promising approach in mitochondrial disease and its efficacy has been explored in several large clinical trials.

AREAS COVERED: The review work employed basic concepts in mitochondrial diseases, LHON, and gene therapy procedures. Reports from completed trials in LHON (i.e. RESCUE) were reviewed and critically compared.

EXPERT OPINION: New challenges, as the improvement of the contralateral untreated eye or the apparently better outcome in patients treated in later stages (6-12 months), were highlighted by the latest gene therapy trials. A better understanding of the pathogenetic mechanisms of the disease together with combined therapy (medical and gene therapy) and optimization in genetic correction approaches could improve the visual outcome of treated eyes.

PMID:38939999 | DOI:10.1080/14712598.2024.2359015