Genetic and phenotypic variability of optic neuropathies

Genetic and phenotypic variability of optic neuropathies.


Hereditary optic neuropathies comprise a group of clinically and genetically heterogeneous disorders. Two subgroups can be formed: isolated hereditary optic atrophies and optic neuropathy as part of complex disorders. In group 1 of hereditary optic neuropathies, optic nerve dysfunction is typically the only manifestation of the disease. This group comprises autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive and X-linked recessive optic atrophy and the maternally inherited Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy. Among the autosomal-dominant forms of optic atrophy, Kjer's disease is most frequently observed. In the second group of complex disorders, various neurologic and other systemic abnormalities are regularly observed. Most frequent in this group are mtDNA mutations, inherited peripheral neuropathies, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disorders (CMT2A2, CMTX5), hereditary sensory neuropathy type 3 (HSAN3), Friedreich's ataxia, leukodystrophies, sphingolipidoses, ceroid-lipofuscinoses and neurodegeneration with brain iron accumulation. We review current knowledge about the underlying genetic predispositions, the most urgent open questions and how this may affect our management of this heterogeneous group of disorders in the future.