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Inherited optic neuropathies, including Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON) and Dominant Optic Atrophy (DOA), are monogenetic diseases with a final common pathway of mitochondrial dysfunction leading to retinal ganglion cell (RGC) death and ultimately loss of vision. They are, therefore, excellent models with which to investigate this ubiquitous disease process-implicated in both common polygenetic ocular diseases (e.g., Glaucoma) and late-onset central nervous system neurodegenerative diseases (e.g., Parkinson disease). In recent years, cellular and animal models of LHON and DOA have matured in parallel with techniques (such as RNA-seq) to determine and analyze the transcriptomes of affected cells. This confluence leaves us at a particularly exciting time with the potential for the identification of novel pathogenic players and therapeutic targets. Here, we present a discussion of the importance of inherited optic neuropathies and how transcriptomic techniques can be exploited in the development of novel mutation-independent, neuroprotective therapies.

Original publication




Journal article


Genes (Basel)

Publication Date





DOA, LHON, OPA1, RNA-seq, gene-therapy, mitochondrial, neuroprotection, optic neuropathies, transcriptomics