Mitochondrial genome variation in male LHON patients with the m.11778G > A mutation

Metab Brain Dis. 2020 Dec;35(8):1317-1327. doi: 10.1007/s11011-020-00605-3. Epub 2020 Aug 1.


Leber hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) is a mitochondrial disorder with symptoms limited to a single tissue, optic nerve, resulting in vision loss. In the majority of cases it is caused by one of three point mutations in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) but their presence is not sufficient for disease development, since ~50% of men and ~10% women who carry them are affected. Thus additional modifying factors must exist. In this study, we use next generation sequencing to investigate the role of whole mtDNA variation in male Polish patients with LHON and m.11778G > A, the most frequent LHON mutation. We present a possible association between mtDNA haplogroup K and variants in its background, a combination of m.3480A > G, m.9055G > A, m.11299 T > C and m.14167C > T, and LHON mutation. These variants may have a negative effect on m.11778G > A increasing its penetrance and the risk of LHON in the Polish population. Surprisingly, we did not observe associations previously reported for m.11778G > A and LHON in European populations, particularly for haplogroup J as a risk factor, implying that mtDNA variation is much more complex. Our results indicate possible contribution of novel combination of mtDNA genetic factors to the LHON phenotype.

Keywords: Leber hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON); M.11778G > A mutation; Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA); Next generation sequencing (NGS); Risk factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Genetic Variation / genetics*
  • Genome, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation / genetics*
  • Optic Atrophy, Hereditary, Leber / diagnosis
  • Optic Atrophy, Hereditary, Leber / epidemiology*
  • Optic Atrophy, Hereditary, Leber / genetics*
  • Poland / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • DNA, Mitochondrial