Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy in Southwestern Ontario: A Growing List of Mutations

Can J Neurol Sci. 2023 Sep;50(5):738-744. doi: 10.1017/cjn.2022.279. Epub 2022 Jul 27.


Background: Leber hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) is a rare but bilaterally blinding disease. Three characteristic disease-causing point mutations, and other less common mutations, are most often found on the mitochondrially encoded genes of NADH-ubiquinone oxidoreductase core subunits (MT-ND). The purpose of this study is to provide an overview of LHON mutations in Southwestern Ontario and to describe the associated demographic and clinical characteristics.

Methods: A retrospective genetic and clinical chart review was performed from January 2015 to 2020. Patients were identified within a mitochondrial mutation database and included if a mutation was detected on the MT-ND1, -ND4, or -ND6 genes. A clinical chart review was done on all available patients.

Results: Forty-five of 63 patients identified had classic disease-causing mutations (6.7% m.3460G>A, 44.4% m.11778G>A, and 48.9% m.14484T>C). Several of the remaining 18 patients had rare mutations previously documented in association with LHON. Of the 14 patients with clinical charts accessible for review, 12 had symptomatic disease, and all but one had bilateral optic neuropathies. Nine patients had classic LHON mutations and 3 had possible novel mutations; 7 were males; 9 had final visual acuity ≤ 20/200 in at least one eye; and 6 of those had ≤20/400 in both eyes.

Conclusions: This study adds to the literature on LHON in Canada, and specifically Southwestern Ontario. The demographic and clinical data regarding LHON in this geographic location, as well as possible novel disease-causing mutations, provide important information to aid clinicians in recognizing cases of LHON that may otherwise be disregarded.

Keywords: LHON; Leber hereditary optic neuropathy; genetic disease; mitochondrial disease; neuro-ophthalmology; optic neuropathy.

MeSH terms

  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Ontario / epidemiology
  • Optic Atrophy, Hereditary, Leber* / epidemiology
  • Optic Atrophy, Hereditary, Leber* / genetics
  • Retrospective Studies


  • DNA, Mitochondrial