Dominant optic atrophy: updates on the pathophysiology and clinical manifestations of the optic atrophy 1 mutation

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Review recent advances in clinical and experimental studies of dominant optic atrophy (DOA) to better understand the complexities of pathophysiology caused by the optic atrophy 1 (OPA1) mutation.

Recent findings

DOA is the most commonly diagnosed inherited optic atrophy, causing progressive bilateral visual loss that begins early in life. During the past 25 years, there has been substantial progress in the understanding of the clinical, genetic, and pathophysiological basis of this disease. The histopathological hallmark of DOA is the primary degeneration of retinal ganglion cells, preferentially in the papillomacular bundle, which results temporal optic disc pallor and cecocentral scotomata in patients with DOA. Loss of OPA1 protein function by OPA1 gene mutations causes mitochondrial dysfunction because of the loss of mitochondrial fusion, impaired mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation, increases in reactive oxygen species, and altered calcium homeostasis. These factors lead to apoptosis of retinal ganglion cells by a haploinsufficiency mechanism.

Summary

Improved understanding of the pathophysiology of DOA provides insights that can be used to develop therapeutic approaches to the DOA.

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