Variation in MAPT is not a contributing factor to the incomplete penetrance in LHON

Gavin Hudson, Patrick Yu-Wai-Man, Philip G. Griffiths, Rita Horvath, Valerio Carelli, Massimo Zeviani, Patrick F. Chinnery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) is a common cause of inherited blindness, primarily due to one of three mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations. LHON, which has an unexplained variable penetrance and pathology, is characterised by disruption of the mitochondrial respiratory chain ultimately resulting in degeneration of the retinal ganglion cells. Phosphorylation of the tau protein is known to cause neurodegeneration and variation in MAPT has been associated with a range of neurodegenerative disorders. Given the relationship between MAPT variation and altered mitochondrial respiratory chain function, we hypothesised that MAPT variation could contribute to the risk of blindness in LHON mtDNA mutation carriers. We studied MAPT variation in a large, well characterised LHON cohort, but were unable to find an association between MAPT genetic variation and visual failure in LHON mtDNA mutation carriers. Our findings suggest that genetic variation in MAPT is unlikely to make a major contribution to the risk of blindness among LHON mutation carriers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)620-622
Number of pages3
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011


  • LHON
  • MAPT
  • Mitochondria
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Optic neuropathy
  • Tau

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Molecular Medicine


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