Late-onset Leber hereditary optic neuropathy mimicking Susac's syndrome

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Leber hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) is a mitochondrial disorder characterized by bilateral painless optic atrophy and blindness. It usually occurs in young men in association with three major mutations in the mitochondrial genome (mtDNA). We report a patient with a history of alcohol abuse who developed at age 63 years visual impairment, sensorineural hearing loss, and memory dysfunction, suggestive of Susac's syndrome. The patient carried the heteroplasmic mt. 11778G>A mutation on the T2e mtDNA haplogroup. It remains unclear if chronic alcohol abuse combined with the mitochondrial genetic background prompted an aged-related neurodegeneration or deferred the onset of the LHON disease.

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