[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multiple isoforms of dystrophin (Dp427, Dp260, Dp140, Dp71) are expressed differentially in the central nervous system (CNS) including the retinal layers. Disruption of these protein products is responsible for cognitive dysfunction, electroretinogram (ERG) abnormalities and behavioural disorders in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). We studied the ocular characteristics and neuropsychiatric profile of 16 DMD boys. The ISCEV standard, full-field flash ERGs were assessed. Intellectual ability and behavioural disturbances were measured. All genotypes were associated with mildly abnormal photopic ERG a:b-wave amplitude ratios. In addition, we identified the following genotype/phenotype correlations: boys with mutations upstream of exon 30 (ie, isolated Dp427 altered expression) showed normal scotopic a:b ratios, abnormal photopic oscillatory potential OP2 and normal scotopic OP2. Conversely, all boys with DMD mutations downstream of exon 30 showed profoundly 'negative' scotopic ERGs (a:b ratios >1). In these patients, the involvement of Dp260 isoform resulted in the absence of slow rod pathway signalling in15 Hz scotopic flicker ERGs. These boys had abnormal scotopic OP2 and normal photopic OP2. Finally, children with mutations also affecting Dp71 were associated with more pronounced electronegative ERGs. When correlating ERGs to neurodevelopmental outcome, we found a positive correlation between negative scotopic ERGs and neurodevelopmental disturbances, and the most severe findings were in boys with Dp71 disruption. These findings suggest a strong association between DMD mutations affecting different DMD isoforms with characteristically abnormal scotopic ERGs and severe neurodevelopmental problems. The role of the ERG as a potential biomarker for dystrophin function in the CNS and response to novel genetic therapies warrants further exploration.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 17 June 2015; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2015.135.
European journal of human genetics: EJHG 06/2015; DOI:10.1038/ejhg.2015.135 · 4.35 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Achromatopsia (ACHM) is an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by color blindness, photophobia, nystagmus and severely reduced visual acuity. Using homozygosity mapping and whole-exome and candidate gene sequencing, we identified ten families carrying six homozygous and two compound-heterozygous mutations in the ATF6 gene (encoding activating transcription factor 6A), a key regulator of the unfolded protein response (UPR) and cellular endoplasmic reticulum (ER) homeostasis. Patients had evidence of foveal hypoplasia and disruption of the cone photoreceptor layer. The ACHM-associated ATF6 mutations attenuate ATF6 transcriptional activity in response to ER stress. Atf6(-/-) mice have normal retinal morphology and function at a young age but develop rod and cone dysfunction with increasing age. This new ACHM-related gene suggests a crucial and unexpected role for ATF6A in human foveal development and cone function and adds to the list of genes that, despite ubiquitous expression, when mutated can result in an isolated retinal photoreceptor phenotype.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Mutations in RPE65 cause Leber's congenital amaurosis, a progressive retinal degenerative disease that severely impairs sight in children. Gene therapy can result in modest improvements in night vision, but knowledge of its efficacy in humans is limited.
We performed a phase 1-2 open-label trial involving 12 participants to evaluate the safety and efficacy of gene therapy with a recombinant adeno-associated virus 2/2 (rAAV2/2) vector carrying the RPE65 complementary DNA, and measured visual function over the course of 3 years. Four participants were administered a lower dose of the vector, and 8 were administered a higher dose. In a parallel study in dogs, we investigated the relationship among vector dose, visual function, and electroretinography (ERG) findings.
Improvements in retinal sensitivity were evident, to varying extents, in six participants for up to 3 years, peaking at 6 to 12 months after treatment and then declining. No associated improvement in retinal function was detected by means of ERG. Three participants had intraocular inflammation, and two had clinically significant deterioration of visual acuity. The reduction in central retinal thickness varied among participants. In dogs, RPE65 gene therapy with the same vector at lower doses improved vision-guided behavior, but only higher doses resulted in improvements in retinal function that were detectable with the use of ERG.
Gene therapy with rAAV2/2 RPE65 vector improved retinal sensitivity, albeit modestly and temporarily. Comparison with the results obtained in the dog model indicates that there is a species difference in the amount of RPE65 required to drive the visual cycle and that the demand for RPE65 in affected persons was not met to the extent required for a durable, robust effect. (Funded by the National Institute for Health Research and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00643747.).
New England Journal of Medicine 05/2015; 372(20). DOI:10.1056/NEJMoa1414221 · 55.87 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: PurposeMicrocephaly with or without chorioretinopathy, lymphedema or intellectual disability (MCLID) is an autosomal dominant condition. Mutations in KIF11 have been found to be causative in approximately 75% of cases. This study describes the ocular phenotype in patients with confirmed KIF11 mutations.Methods
Standard ophthalmic examination and investigation including visual acuity, refraction and fundus examination was carried out in all patients. Fundus autofluorescence imaging (FAF) was performed in three patients, and four patients underwent spectral domain optical coherence tomography (OCT). Flash electroretinography (ERG) was performed in seven patients, and five underwent additional pattern electroretinography (PERG).ResultsThe patients ranged in age from 2 to 10 years. Most presented with visual acuity loss. Fundus examination revealed lacunae of chorioretinal atrophy. Pigmentary macular changes and optic disc pallor were present in three of seven patients. Fundus autofluorescence demonstrated hypoautofluorescence at the macula in two of three patients. The lacunae of chorioretinal atrophy were hypoautofluorescent. The OCT showed atrophic maculae in three of four patients. Follow-up in one patient showed no deterioration of the vision over a 9-year period. The lesions appear not to be progressive on the follow-up imaging. Electrophysiology showed generalized rod and cone dysfunction and severe macular dysfunction. Inner retinal dysfunction was evident in three of seven patients.Conclusions
Patients with KIF11 mutations show a specific ocular phenotype with variable expressivity and intrafamilial variability. Macular atrophy and dysfunction have not been consistently documented before. The fundus lesions appear non-progressive. The findings assist in providing an accurate diagnosis and thus improving the management and follow-up of patients with this syndrome.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Defects in USH2A cause both isolated retinal disease and Usher syndrome (ie, retinal disease and deafness). To gain insights into isolated/nonsyndromic USH2A retinopathy, we screened USH2A in 186 probands with recessive retinal disease and no hearing complaint in childhood (discovery cohort) and in 84 probands with recessive retinal disease (replication cohort). Detailed phenotyping, including retinal imaging and audiological assessment, was performed in individuals with two likely disease-causing USH2A variants. Further genetic testing, including screening for a deep-intronic disease-causing variant and large deletions/duplications, was performed in those with one likely disease-causing change. Overall, 23 of 186 probands (discovery cohort) were found to harbour two likely disease-causing variants in USH2A. Some of these variants were predominantly associated with nonsyndromic retinal degeneration (‘retinal disease-specific’); these included the common c.2276 G>T, p.(Cys759Phe) mutation and five additional variants: c.2802 T>G, p.(Cys934Trp); c.10073 G>A, p.(Cys3358Tyr); c.11156 G>A, p.(Arg3719His); c.12295-3 T>A; and c.12575 G>A, p.(Arg4192His). An allelic hierarchy was observed in the discovery cohort and confirmed in the replication cohort. In nonsyndromic USH2A disease, retinopathy was consistent with retinitis pigmentosa and the audiological phenotype was variable. USH2A retinopathy is a common cause of nonsyndromic recessive retinal degeneration and has a different mutational spectrum to that observed in Usher syndrome. The following model is proposed: the presence of at least one ‘retinal disease-specific’ USH2A allele in a patient with USH2A-related disease results in the preservation of normal hearing. Careful genotype-phenotype studies such as this will become increasingly important, especially now that high-throughput sequencing is widely used in the clinical setting.
European journal of human genetics: EJHG 02/2015; 23(10). DOI:10.1038/ejhg.2014.283 · 4.35 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Oliver-McFarlane syndrome is characterised by trichomegaly, congenital hypopituitarism and retinal degeneration with choroidal atrophy. Laurence-Moon syndrome presents similarly, though with progressive spinocerebellar ataxia and spastic paraplegia and without trichomegaly. Both recessively inherited disorders have no known genetic cause.
Whole-exome sequencing was performed to identify the genetic causes of these disorders. Mutations were functionally validated in zebrafish pnpla6 morphants. Embryonic expression was evaluated via in situ hybridisation in human embryonic sections. Human neurohistopathology was performed to characterise cerebellar degeneration. Enzymatic activities were measured in patient-derived fibroblast cell lines.
Eight mutations in six families with Oliver-McFarlane or Laurence-Moon syndrome were identified in the PNPLA6 gene, which encodes neuropathy target esterase (NTE). PNPLA6 expression was found in the developing human eye, pituitary and brain. In zebrafish, the pnpla6 curly-tailed morphant phenotype was fully rescued by wild-type human PNPLA6 mRNA and not by mutation-harbouring mRNAs. NTE enzymatic activity was significantly reduced in fibroblast cells derived from individuals with Oliver-McFarlane syndrome. Intriguingly, adult brain histology from a patient with highly overlapping features of Oliver-McFarlane and Laurence-Moon syndromes revealed extensive cerebellar degeneration and atrophy.
Previously, PNPLA6 mutations have been associated with spastic paraplegia type 39, Gordon-Holmes syndrome and Boucher-Neuhäuser syndromes. Discovery of these additional PNPLA6-opathies further elucidates a spectrum of neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders associated with NTE impairment and suggests a unifying mechanism with diagnostic and prognostic importance.
Journal of Medical Genetics 12/2014; 52(2). DOI:10.1136/jmedgenet-2014-102856 · 6.34 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose:
To report a case of branch retinal artery occlusion and prepapillary loop in a 10-year-old girl.
Case report with funduscopic and fluorescein angiography imaging.
A 10-year-old girl presented with a history of the sudden onset of a superior visual field defect in her right eye. Fundus findings were consistent with thrombosis in a prepapillary arterial loop causing an inferior branch retinal artery occlusion.
Bilateral congenital prepapillary vascular loops are rare, and are usually asymptomatic. However, they can be complicated by vitreous hemorrhage and thrombosis. Such thrombotic events may be precipitated by hemodynamic or intravascular changes associated with exercise.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of genetically and clinically heterogeneous inherited degenerative retinopathies caused by abnormalities of photoreceptors or retinal pigment epithelium in the retina leading to progressive sight loss. Rhodopsin is the prototypical G-protein-coupled receptor located in the vertebrate retina and responsible for dim light vision. Here, novel M39R and N55K variants were identified as causing an intriguing sector phenotype of RP in affected patients, with selective degeneration in the inferior retina. In order to gain insights into the molecular aspects associated with this sector RP phenotype, whose molecular mechanism remains elusive, the mutations were constructed by site-directed mutagenesis, expressed in heterologous systems and studied by biochemical, spectroscopic and functional assays. M39R and N55K opsins had variable degrees of chromophore regeneration when compared to WT opsin, but showed no gross structural misfolding or altered trafficking. M39R showed a faster rate for transducin activation than WT rhodopsin with a faster metarhodopsinII decay, whereas N55K presented a reduced activation rate and an altered photobleaching pattern. N55K also showed an altered retinal release from the opsin binding pocket upon light exposure, affecting its optimal functional response. Our data suggest that these sector RP mutations cause different protein phenotypes which may be related to their different clinical progression. Overall, these findings illuminate the molecular mechanisms of sector RP associated with rhodopsin mutations.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose
To describe the clinical and molecular characteristics of patients with childhood-onset Stargardt disease (STGD).
Retrospective case series.
Forty-two patients who were diagnosed with STGD in childhood at a single institution between January 2001 and January 2012.
A detailed history and a comprehensive ophthalmic examination were undertaken, including color fundus photography, autofluorescence imaging, spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT), and pattern and full-field electroretinograms. The entire coding region and splice sites of ABCA4 were screened using a next-generation, sequencing-based strategy. The molecular genetic findings of childhood-onset STGD patients were compared with those of adult-onset patients.
Main Outcome Measures
Clinical, imaging, electrophysiologic, and molecular genetic findings.
The median ages of onset and the median age at baseline examination were 8.5 (range, 3–16) and 12.0 years (range, 7-16), respectively. The median baseline logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution visual acuity was 0.74. At baseline, 26 of 39 patients (67%) with available photographs had macular atrophy with macular/peripheral flecks; 11 (28%) had macular atrophy without flecks; 1 (2.5%) had numerous flecks without macular atrophy; and 1 (2.5%) had a normal fundus appearance. Flecks were not identified at baseline in 12 patients (31%). SD-OCT detected foveal outer retinal disruption in all 21 patients with available images. Electrophysiologic assessment demonstrated retinal dysfunction confined to the macula in 9 patients (36%), macular and generalized cone dysfunction in 1 subject (4%), and macular and generalized cone and rod dysfunction in 15 individuals (60%). At least 1 disease-causing ABCA4 variant was identified in 38 patients (90%), including 13 novel variants; ≥2 variants were identified in 34 patients (81%). Patients with childhood-onset STGD more frequently harbored 2 deleterious variants (18% vs 5%) compared with patients with adult-onset STGD.
Childhood-onset STGD is associated with severe visual loss, early morphologic changes, and often generalized retinal dysfunction, despite often having less severe fundus abnormalities on examination. One third of children do not have flecks at presentation. The relatively high proportion of deleterious ABCA4 variants supports the hypothesis that earlier onset disease is often owing to more severe variants in ABCA4 than those found in adult-onset disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose:
Gene therapy trials for inherited photoreceptor disorders are planned. Anatomical metrics to select the best candidates and outcomes are needed. Adaptive optics (AO) imaging enables visualization of photoreceptor structure, although analytical tools are lacking. Here we present criteria to assess residual photoreceptor integrity in achromatopsia (ACHM).
Two AOSLOs, at the Medical College of Wisconsin and Moorfields Eye Hospital, were used to image the photoreceptor mosaic of 11 subjects with ACHM and 7 age-matched controls. Images were obtained, processed, and montaged using previously described methods. Cone density and reflectivity were quantified to assess residual cone photoreceptor structure.
All subjects with ACHM had reduced numbers of cone photoreceptors, albeit to a variable degree. In addition, the relative cone reflectivity varied greatly. Interestingly, subjects with GNAT2-associated ACHM had the greatest number of residual cones and the reflectivity of those cones was significantly greater than that of the cones in the subjects with CNGA3/CNGB3-associated ACHM.
We present cone reflectivity as a metric that can be used to characterize cone structure in ACHM. This method may be applicable to subjects with other cone disorders. In ACHM, we hypothesize that cone numerosity (and/or density) combined with cone reflectivity could be used to gauge the therapeutic potential. As gene replacement would not be expected to add cones, reflectivity could be a more powerful AO-metric for monitoring the cellular response to treatment and could provide a more immediate indicator of efficacy than behavioral measures, which may take longer to change.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose:
To present a detailed phenotypic and molecular study of a series of 18 patients from 11 families with retinal dystrophies consequent on mutations in the cone-rod homeobox (CRX) gene and to report a novel phenotype.
Families were ascertained from a tertiary clinic in the United Kingdom and enrolled into retinal dystrophy studies investigating the phenotype and molecular basis of inherited retinal disease. Eleven patients were ascertained from the study cohorts and a further seven from investigation of affected relatives. Detailed phenotyping included electrodiagnostic testing and retinal imaging. Bidirectional Sanger sequencing of all exons and intron-exon boundaries of CRX was performed on all 18 reported patients and segregation confirmed in available relatives.
Based on clinical characteristics and electrophysiology, four patients had Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA), two had rod-cone dystrophy (RCD), five had cone-rod dystrophy (CORD), one had cone dystrophy (COD), and six had macular dystrophy with different phenotypes observed within 5 of 11 families. The macular dystrophy patients presented between 35 to 50 years of age and had visual acuities at last review ranging from 0.2 to 1.5 logMAR (20/32 to 20/630 Snellen). All 18 patients were heterozygous for a mutation in CRX with seven novel mutations identified. There was no evident association between age of onset and position or type of CRX mutation. De novo mutations were confirmed in three patients.
Mutations in CRX demonstrate significant phenotypic heterogeneity both between and within pedigrees. A novel, adult-onset, macular dystrophy phenotype is characterized, further extending our knowledge of the etiology of dominant macular dystrophies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose:
To describe the dark-adaptation (DA) functions in subjects with molecularly proven achromatopsia (ACHM) using refined testing conditions with a view to guiding assessment in forthcoming gene therapy trials.
The DA functions of nine subjects with ACHM were measured and compared with those of normal observers. The size and retinal location of the stimuli used to measure DA sensitivities were varied in four distinct testing condition sets, and the effect of altering these parameters assessed.
In three of the four testing condition sets, achromats had significantly higher mean final thresholds than normal observers, whereas in the fourth condition set they did not. A larger, more central stimulus revealed the greatest difference between the final DA thresholds of achromat and normal subjects, and also demonstrated the slowest rate of recovery among the achromat group.
In this, the largest study of DA functions in molecularly proven ACHM to date, we have identified optimal testing conditions that accentuate the relative difference between achromats and normal observers. These findings can help optimize DA testing in future trials, as well as help resolve the dichotomy in the literature regarding the normality or otherwise of DA functions in ACHM. Furthermore, the shorter testing time and less intense adaptation light used in these experiments may prove advantageous for more readily and reliably probing scotopic function in retinal disease, and be particularly valuable in the frequent post therapeutic assessments required in the context of the marked photophobia in ACHM.