Mitochondria are critical for ocular function as they represent the major source of a cell's supply of energy and play an important role in cell differentiation and survival. Mitochondrial dysfunction can occur as a result of inherited mitochondrial mutations (e.g. Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy and chronic progressive external ophthalmoplegia) or stochastic oxidative damage which leads to cumulative mitochondrial damage and is an important factor in age-related disorders (e.g. age-related macular degeneration, cataract and diabetic retinopathy). Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) instability is an important factor in mitochondrial impairment culminating in age-related changes and pathology, and in all regions of the eye mtDNA damage is increased as a consequence of aging and age-related disease. It is now apparent that the mitochondrial genome is a weak link in the defenses of ocular cells since it is susceptible to oxidative damage and it lacks some of the systems that protect the nuclear genome, such as nucleotide excision repair. Accumulation of mitochondrial mutations leads to cellular dysfunction and increased susceptibility to adverse events which contribute to the pathogenesis of numerous sporadic and chronic disorders in the eye.
- Ocular function
- Reactive oxygen species
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience