Neuro-ophthalmological and electrophysiological characterization of mitochondrial diseases.

Amore, Giulia (2023) Neuro-ophthalmological and electrophysiological characterization of mitochondrial diseases., [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze biomediche e neuromotorie, 35 Ciclo. DOI 10.48676/unibo/amsdottorato/10658.
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Aims and methods: 1) characterization of patients with Dominant Optic Atrophy (DOA) associated with mutations in AFG3L2 and ACO2 genes in comparison with classical OPA1-DOA; 2) characterization of patients with mtDNA mutations causing MELAS and MERRF syndromes and correlation with heteroplasmy; 3) longitudinal evaluation of subacute m.11778G>A/MTND4 Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON) patients co-treated with rAAV2/2-ND4 gene therapy and idebenone. We performed a comprehensive neuro-ophthalmological assessment coupled with electrophysiological examination. Results: 1) We described and compared 23 ACO2 and 13 AFG3L2 patients with 72 OPA1 patients. All patients presented temporally predominant optic atrophy, with ACO2 showing higher RNFL and GCL thicknesses at OCT, while AFG3L2 was virtually-indistinguishable from OPA1. 2) Retinopathy was the most common manifestation in 17/33 MELAS patients, conversely, optic atrophy was the most common finding in 7/8 MERRF patients. Correlation of heteroplasmy with neuro-ophthalmological parameters failed to disclose any significance in MELAS, while it negatively correlated with OCT parameters in MERRF. 3) We compared modifications in visual acuity, OCT and electrophysiological parameters at 3 timepoints in 9 LHON patients. We observed significant decrease of RNFL thickness and reduction of PhNR amplitude. Visual acuity improved of about -0.37 LogMAR, correlating significantly with time from onset and from injection, but not with idebenone therapy duration. Discussion: 1) ACO2 seems associated to better preservation of retinal ganglion cells, depending on a different pathogenic mechanism involving mtDNA maintenance, as opposed to AFG3L2 which is involved in OPA1 processing. 2) MELAS and MERRF patients presented with a clearly distinct ocular phenotype, possibly reflecting a selective susceptibility of different retinal cell types to global energy defect or oxidative stress. 3) Follow up of LHON patients treated with gene therapy confirmed the deterioration in OCT and electrophysiological parameters, while the amount of visual improvement was similar to the one observed in recent clinical trials.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Amore, Giulia
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
optic atrophy, mitochondrial disease, optic coherence tomography, electrophysiology
Data di discussione
30 Marzo 2023

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