Mitochondrial dynamics, transport, and quality control: A bottleneck for retinal ganglion cell viability in optic neuropathies

Mitochondrion. 2017 Sep;36:186-192. doi: 10.1016/j.mito.2017.08.014. Epub 2017 Sep 1.


Retinal ganglion cells, the neurons that selectively die in glaucoma and other optic neuropathies, are endowed with an exceedingly active metabolism and display a particular vulnerability to mitochondrial dysfunction. Mitochondria are exquisitely dynamic organelles that are continually responding to endogenous and environmental cues to readily meet the energy demand of neuronal networks. The highly orchestrated regulation of mitochondrial biogenesis, fusion, fission, transport and degradation is paramount for the maintenance of energy-expensive synapses at RGC dendrites and axon terminals geared for optimal neurotransmission. The present review focuses on the progress made to date on understanding the biology of mitochondrial dynamics and quality control and how dysregulation of these processes can profoundly affect retinal ganglion cell viability and function in optic nerve diseases.

Keywords: Biogenesis; Fission; Fusion; Glaucoma; Mitochondrial dynamics; Mitophagy; Optic neuropathies; Retinal ganglion cells; Transport.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Mitochondrial Dynamics*
  • Optic Nerve Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / physiology*