Mitochondria are essential subcellular organelles and important key regulators of metabolism. Mammalian mitochondria contain their own DNA (mtDNA). Human mtDNA is remarkably small (16,569 bp) compared to nuclear DNA. Mitochondria promote aerobic respiration, an important part of energy metabolism in eukaryotes, as the site of oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). OXPHOS occurs in the inner membrane of the mitochondrion and involves 5 protein complexes that sequentially undergo reduction-oxygen reactions ultimately producing adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Tissues with high metabolic demand such as lungs, central nervous system, peripheral nerves, heart, adrenal glands, renal tubules and the retina are affected preferentially by this critical role in energy production by mitochondrial disorders. Eye-affected mitochondrial disorders are always primary, but the role of mitochondrial dysfunction is now best understood in acquired chronic progressive ocular diseases. Recent advances in mitochondrial research have improved our understanding of ocular disorders. In this chapter, we will discuss the mitochondria in relation to eye diseases, ocular tumors, pathogenesis, and treatment modalities that will help to improve the outcomes of these conditions.
Part of the book: Mutagenesis and Mitochondrial-Associated Pathologies