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Jessica M. Skeie, Darryl Y. Nishimura, Cheryl L. Wang, Gregory A. Schmidt, Benjamin T. Aldrich, Mark A. Greiner; Mitophagy: An Emerging Target in Ocular Pathology. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2021;62(3):22. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.62.3.22.
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Mitochondrial function is essential for the viability of aerobic eukaryotic cells, as mitochondria provide energy through the generation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), regulate cellular metabolism, provide redox balancing, participate in immune signaling, and can initiate apoptosis. Mitochondria are dynamic organelles that participate in a cyclical and ongoing process of regeneration and autophagy (clearance), termed mitophagy specifically for mitochondrial (macro)autophagy. An imbalance in mitochondrial function toward mitochondrial dysfunction can be catastrophic for cells and has been characterized in several common ophthalmic diseases. In this article, we review mitochondrial homeostasis in detail, focusing on the balance of mitochondrial dynamics including the processes of fission and fusion, and provide a description of the mechanisms involved in mitophagy. Furthermore, this article reviews investigations of ocular diseases with impaired mitophagy, including Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy, primary open-angle glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration, as well as several primary mitochondrial diseases with ocular phenotypes that display impaired mitophagy, including mitochondrial encephalopathy lactic acidosis stroke, Leber hereditary optic neuropathy, and chronic progressive external ophthalmoplegia. The results of various studies using cell culture, animal, and human tissue models are presented and reflect a growing awareness of mitophagy impairment as an important feature of ophthalmic disease pathology. As this review indicates, it is imperative that mitophagy be investigated as a targetable mechanism in developing therapies for ocular diseases characterized by oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction.
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