Wolfram Syndrome: A Rare Optic Neuropathy in Youth with Type 1 Diabetes

The Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes, Departments of Pediatrics and Ophthalmology, University of Colorado, Denver, Aurora, Colorado 80045, USA.
Optometry and vision science: official publication of the American Academy of Optometry (Impact Factor: 1.6). 09/2011; 88(11):E1383-90. DOI: 10.1097/OPX.0b013e31822f4d8f
Source: PubMed


Wolfram Syndrome (WS) is a rare, autosomal recessive disorder that causes non-autoimmune type 1 diabetes. The etiology involves a single gene mutation of the wolframin protein inducing endoplasmic reticulum stress and apoptosis in selected cell types with resultant diabetes insipidus, diabetes mellitus, optic atrophy, and sensory-neural deafness. Symptoms are initially absent and signs within the posterior segment of the eye are usually the earliest indicator of WS.These cases characterize unusual and poorly described findings of pigmentary maculopathy in WS and illustrate the importance of collaboration between diabetes and eye care providers; especially in cases of non-autoimmune type 1 diabetes exhibiting atypical human leukocyte-associated antigen haplotypes.

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    ABSTRACT: Purpose To describe an ophthalmic phenotype in children at relatively early stages of Wolfram syndrome. Methods Quantitative ophthalmic testing of visual acuity, color vision, automated visual field sensitivity, optic nerve pallor and cupping, and retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness assessed by optical coherence tomography (OCT) was performed in 18 subjects 5-25 years of age. Subjects were also examined for presence or absence of afferent pupillary defects, cataracts, nystagmus, and strabismus. Results Subnormal visual acuity was detected in 89% of subjects, color vision deficits in 94%, visual field defects in 100%, optic disk pallor in 94%, abnormally large optic nerve cup:disk ratio in 33%, thinned RNFL in 100%, afferent pupillary defects in 61%, cataracts in 22%, nystagmus in 39%, and strabismus in 39% of subjects. RNFL thinning (P < 0.001), afferent pupillary defects (P = 0.01), strabismus (P = 0.04), and nystagmus (P = 0.04) were associated with more severe disease using the Wolfram United Rating Scale. Conclusions Children and adolescents with Wolfram syndrome have multiple ophthalmic markers that correlate with overall disease severity. RNFL thickness measured by OCT may be the most reliable early marker.
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