3 years ago

Optic neuropathies: the tip of the neurodegeneration iceberg.

Sadun, La Morgia, Carelli, Ross-Cisneros
The optic nerve and the cells that give origin to its 1.2 million axons, the retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), are particularly vulnerable to neurodegeneration related to mitochondrial dysfunction. Optic neuropathies may range from non-syndromic genetic entities, to rare syndromic multisystem diseases with optic atrophy such as mitochondrial encephalomyopathies, to age-related neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease where optic nerve involvement has, until recently, been a relatively overlooked feature. New tools are available to thoroughly investigate optic nerve function, allowing unparalleled access to this part of the central nervous system. Understanding the molecular pathophysiology of RGC neurodegeneration and optic atrophy, is key to broadly understanding the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders, for monitoring their progression in describing the natural history, and ultimately as outcome measures to evaluate therapies. In this review, the different layers, from molecular to anatomical, that may contribute to RGC neurodegeneration and optic atrophy are tackled in an integrated way, considering all relevant players. These include RGC dendrites, cell bodies and axons, the unmyelinated retinal nerve fiber layer and the myelinated post-laminar axons, as well as olygodendrocytes and astrocytes, looked for unconventional functions. Dysfunctional mitochondrial dynamics, transport, homeostatic control of mitobiogenesis and mitophagic removal, as well as specific propensity to apoptosis may target differently cell types and anatomical settings. Ultimately, we can envisage new investigative approaches and therapeutic options that will speed the early diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases and their cure.

Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddx273

DOI: 10.1093/hmg/ddx273

You might also like
Never Miss Important Research

Researcher is an app designed by academics, for academics. Create a personalised feed in two minutes.
Choose from over 15,000 academics journals covering ten research areas then let Researcher deliver you papers tailored to your interests each day.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.