[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To determine whether normal function and structure, as recently found in forms of Usher syndrome, also occur in a population of patients with nonsyndromic retinitis pigmentosa (RP).
Patients with simplex, multiplex, or autosomal recessive RP (n = 238; ages 9-82 years) were studied with static chromatic perimetry. A subset was evaluated with optical coherence tomography (OCT). Co-localized visual sensitivity and photoreceptor nuclear layer thickness were measured across the central retina to establish the relationship of function and structure. Comparisons were made to patients with Usher syndrome (n = 83, ages 10-69 years).
Cross-sectional psychophysical data identified patients with RP who had normal rod- and cone-mediated function in the central retina. There were two other patterns with greater dysfunction, and longitudinal data confirmed that progression can occur from normal rod and cone function to cone-only central islands. The retinal extent of normal laminar architecture by OCT corresponded to the extent of normal visual function in patients with RP. Central retinal preservation of normal function and structure did not show a relationship with age or retained peripheral function. Usher syndrome results were like those in nonsyndromic RP.
Regional disease variation is a well-known finding in RP. Unexpected was the observation that patients with presumed recessive RP can have regions with functionally and structurally normal retina. Such patients will require special consideration in future clinical trials of either focal or systemic treatment. Whether there is a common molecular mechanism shared by forms of RP with normal regions of retina warrants further study.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To define the phenotype of the retinal degeneration associated with mutations in the CERKL gene.
Six patients (ages, 26-54 years) from three unrelated families with CERKL mutations were studied clinically and by electroretinography, kinetic, and chromatic static perimetry, autofluorescence (AF) imaging, and optical coherence tomography (OCT).
Three siblings were homozygotes for p.R257X mutation; two siblings were compound heterozygotes for p.R257X and a novel p.C362X mutation; and one patient had only p.R257X mutation identified to date. There was a spectrum of severity: from mild visual acuity loss to light perception; from full kinetic fields with relative central scotomas to remnant peripheral islands; from reduced ERGs (some with negative waveforms) to nondetectable signals. Maculopathy showed residual foveal islands or extensive central rod and cone scotomas. With AF imaging, there was evidence of hyperautofluorescence at earlier and hypoautofluorescence at later disease stages. Peripheral function was generally less affected than central function. With OCT there were small foveal islands of outer nuclear layer (ONL) in those with preserved acuity. Eccentric to an annular region with no discernible ONL, there could be ONL in the midperiphery. At early disease stages, ganglion cell layer thickness was less affected than ONL. Later disease stages were accompanied by inner nuclear layer and nerve fiber layer abnormalities.
CERKL mutations are associated with widespread retinal degeneration with prominent maculopathy. The clinical presentation is that of an autosomal recessive cone-rod dystrophy. Photoreceptor loss appears at all stages of disease and inner laminopathy complicates the phenotype at later stages.
No preview · Article · Aug 2009 · Investigative ophthalmology & visual science
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human gene therapy with rAAV2-vector was performed for the RPE65 form of childhood blindness called Leber congenital amaurosis. In three contemporaneous studies by independent groups, the procedure was deemed safe and there was evidence of visual gain in the short term. At 12 months after treatment, our young adult subjects remained healthy and without vector-related serious adverse events. Results of immunological assays to identify reaction to AAV serotype 2 capsid were unchanged from baseline measurements. Results of clinical eye examinations of study and control eyes, including visual acuities and central retinal structure by in vivo microscopy, were not different from those at the 3-month time point. The remarkable improvements in visual sensitivity we reported by 3 months were unchanged at 12 months. The retinal extent and magnitude of rod and cone components of the visual sensitivity between 3 and 12 months were also the same. The safety and efficacy of human retinal gene transfer with rAAV2-RPE65 vector extends to at least 1 year posttreatment.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2009 · Human gene therapy
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To determine the retinal disease expression in the rare form of Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) caused by Lebercilin (LCA5) mutation.
Two young unrelated LCA patients, ages six years (P1) and 25 years (P2) at last visit, both with the same homozygous mutation in the LCA5 gene, were evaluated clinically and with noninvasive studies. En face imaging was performed with near-infrared (NIR) reflectance and autofluorescence (AF); cross-sectional retinal images were obtained with optical coherence tomography (OCT). Dark-adapted thresholds were measured in the older patient; and the transient pupillary light reflex was recorded and quantified in both patients.
Both LCA5 patients had light perception vision only, hyperopia, and nystagmus. P1 showed a prominent central island of retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) surrounded by alternating elliptical-appearing areas of decreased and increased pigmentation. Retinal laminar architecture at and near the fovea was abnormal in both patients. Foveal outer nuclear layer (ONL) was present in P1 and P2 but to different degrees. With increasing eccentricity, there was retinal laminar disorganization. Regions of pericentral and midperipheral retina in P1, but not P2, could retain measurable ONL and less laminopathy. P2 had a small central island of perception with >5 log units of sensitivity loss. Pupillary responsiveness was present in both LCA5 patients; the thresholds were abnormally elevated by >or=5.5 log units.
LCA5 patients had evidence of retained photoreceptors mainly in the central retina. Retinal remodeling was present in pericentral regions in both patients. The NIR reflectance and NIR-AF imaging in the younger patient suggested preserved RPE in retinal regions with retained photoreceptors. Detailed phenotype studies in other LCA5 patients with longitudinal follow-up will help determine the feasibility of future intervention in this rare disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To quantify the residual vision in Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) caused by RPE65 mutations.
Patients with RPE65-LCA (n = 30; ages, 4-55) were studied using electroretinography (ERG), full-field stimulus testing (FST), kinetic and static threshold perimetry, and optical coherence tomography (OCT).
All patients with RPE65-LCA had abnormal ERGs even at the youngest ages. There were no detectable rod ERGs and only reduced cone ERGs. By chromatic FST, however, 59% of patients had measurable rod- and cone-mediated function. The remaining 41% had only cone-mediated function. Extent of kinetic fields varied widely in the first two decades of life but, by the end of the third decade, there was very little measurable field. Regional patterns of visual loss were evident using dark-adapted static threshold perimetry. The mildest dysfunctions showed relatively homogeneous sensitivity loss beyond the central field. Mid-peripheral dysfunction was a later feature; finally, only central and peripheral islands remained. Colocalized measures of visual function and retinal structure by OCT showed that visual function was detectable when a photoreceptor layer was detectable.
Residual rod as well as cone function is detectable in RPE65-LCA. The finding of different regional patterns of visual loss in these patients suggests that the optimal retinal site(s) for subretinal gene delivery to achieve efficacy are likely to change with disease progression.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To study retinal microstructure in Usher Syndrome type 1B (USH1B) caused by MYO7A mutations as a prelude to treatment initiatives.
Patients with MYO7A-USH1B (n=17; ages 5-61) were studied with optical coherence tomography. Retinal laminae across horizontal and vertical meridians were measured. Colocalized visual sensitivity was measured with automated perimetry to enable comparisons of function and structure in the transition zones.
Laminar architecture of the central retina in MYO7A-USH1B ranged from normal to severely abnormal. Within the transition zone between normal and abnormal retina, the first detectable abnormality was an increase in prominence of the OLM (outer limiting membrane). Declining ONL thickness was accompanied by increased thickness of the OPL and normal or increased INL. Undetectable ONL and OPL and hyperthick INL were features of severe laminopathy at further eccentricities into the transition zone. Visual sensitivity in the transition zone declined with the decrease in ONL thickness.
Patients with MYO7A-USH1B can have regions of structurally and functionally normal retina with definable transitions to severe laminopathy and visual loss. The earliest detectable structural markers of disease may represent Müller glial cell response to photoreceptor stress and apoptosis. Visual losses were predictably related to a decline in ONL thickness. The prospect of focal treatment of MYO7A-USH1B, such as subretinal gene therapy, prompts the need to identify retinal locations that warrant consideration for treatment in early phase trials. The transition zones are candidate sites for treatment, and laminar architecture and visual sensitivity are possible outcomes to assess safety and efficacy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Autosomal recessive retinal diseases caused by mutations in the ABCA4 gene are being considered for gene replacement therapy. All individuals with ABCA4-disease show macular degeneration, but only some are thought to progress to retina-wide blindness. It is currently not predictable if or when specific ABCA4 genotypes will show extramacular disease, and how fast it will progress thereafter. Early clinical trials of focal subretinal gene therapy will aim to arrest disease progression in the extramacular retina. In 66 individuals with known disease-causing ABCA4 alleles, we defined retina-wide disease expression by measuring rod- and cone-photoreceptor-mediated vision. Serial measurements over a mean period of 8.7 years were consistent with a model wherein a normal plateau phase of variable length was followed by initiation of retina-wide disease that progressed exponentially. Once initiated, the mean rate of disease progression was 1.1 log/decade for rods and 0.45 log/decade for cones. Spatio-temporal progression of disease could be described as the sum of two components, one with a central-to-peripheral gradient and the other with a uniform retina-wide pattern. Estimates of the age of disease initiation were used as a severity metric and contributions made by each ABCA4 allele were predicted. One-third of the non-truncating alleles were found to cause more severe disease than premature truncations supporting the existence of a pathogenic component beyond simple loss of function. Genotype-based inclusion/exclusion criteria and prediction of the age of retina-wide disease initiation will be invaluable for selecting appropriate candidates for clinical trials in ABCA4 disease.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2009 · Human Molecular Genetics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The RPE65 gene encodes the isomerase of the retinoid cycle, the enzymatic pathway that underlies mammalian vision. Mutations in RPE65 disrupt the retinoid cycle and cause a congenital human blindness known as Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA). We used adeno-associated virus-2-based RPE65 gene replacement therapy to treat three young adults with RPE65-LCA and measured their vision before and up to 90 days after the intervention. All three patients showed a statistically significant increase in visual sensitivity at 30 days after treatment localized to retinal areas that had received the vector. There were no changes in the effect between 30 and 90 days. Both cone- and rod-photoreceptor-based vision could be demonstrated in treated areas. For cones, there were increases of up to 1.7 log units (i.e., 50 fold); and for rods, there were gains of up to 4.8 log units (i.e., 63,000 fold). To assess what fraction of full vision potential was restored by gene therapy, we related the degree of light sensitivity to the level of remaining photoreceptors within the treatment area. We found that the intervention could overcome nearly all of the loss of light sensitivity resulting from the biochemical blockade. However, this reconstituted retinoid cycle was not completely normal. Resensitization kinetics of the newly treated rods were remarkably slow and required 8 h or more for the attainment of full sensitivity, compared with dramatic, albeit imperfect, recovery of rod- and cone-photoreceptor-based vision after RPE65 gene therapy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The RPE65 gene encodes the isomerase of the retinoid cycle, the enzymatic pathway that underlies mammalian vision. Mutations in RPE65 disrupt the retinoid cycle and cause a congenital human blindness known as Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA). We used adeno-associated virus-2-based RPE65 gene replacement therapy to treat three young adults with RPE65-LCA and measured their vision before and up to 90 days after the intervention. All three patients showed a statistically significant increase in visual sensitivity at 30 days after treatment localized to retinal areas that had received the vector. There were no changes in the effect between 30 and 90 days. Both cone- and rod-photoreceptor-based vision could be demonstrated in treated areas. For cones, there were increases of up to 1.7 log units (i.e., 50 fold); and for rods, there were gains of up to 4.8 log units (i.e., 63,000 fold). To assess what fraction of full vision potential was restored by gene therapy, we related the degree of light sensitivity to the level of remaining photoreceptors within the treatment area. We found that the intervention could overcome nearly all of the loss of light sensitivity resulting from the biochemical blockade. However, this reconstituted retinoid cycle was not completely normal. Resensitization kinetics of the newly treated rods were remarkably slow and required 8 h or more for the attainment of full sensitivity, compared with <1 h in normal eyes. Cone-sensitivity recovery time was rapid. These results demonstrate dramatic, albeit imperfect, recovery of rod- and cone-photoreceptor-based vision after RPE65 gene therapy.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2008 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To define molecular and ophthalmic features of a rare phenotype in autosomal dominant (ad) retinitis pigmentosa (RP).
A 32-year-old woman (proband) with adRP and the low-frequency damped electroretinographic (ERG) wavelet phenotype and her mother were studied with optical coherence tomography (OCT), chromatic perimetry and ERG. A previously reported adRP patient with this ERG phenotype (Lam et al) was also studied with OCT. Genotype in the two families was determined with DNA sequencing.
ERGs from the proband were identical to those reported previously. Chromatic perimetry and ERG stimulus intensity series indicated that there can be severely reduced rod function in addition to substantial cone dysfunction. A heterozygous deletion in peripherin/RDS (Met152del3 atGAA) was present in the patient and the affected mother. There were foveal cystoid changes and pericentral splitting of the inner nuclear layer. ONL thickness and vision tapered with eccentricity, and 'blind' regions without discernible ONL showed a thickened, delaminated inner retina. Similar OCT findings were present in the reported adRP patient with this ERG; the patient was heterozygous for a 4-bp deletion (Leu107del4 ctGAGT) in PRPF31.
The low-frequency damped ERG wavelet phenotype is genetically heterogeneous. Inner retinal structural abnormalities are also present in this rare disease expression.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To study the topography of photoreceptor loss early in the course of Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) caused by RPE65 mutations.
Young patients with RPE65-LCA (n = 9; ages, 6-17 years) were studied with optical coherence tomography (OCT) in a wide region of central retina. Outer nuclear layer (ONL) thickness was mapped topographically and compared with that in normal subjects and in older patients with RPE65-LCA.
Photoreceptor layer topography was abnormal in all young patients with RPE65-LCA. Foveal and extrafoveal ONL was reduced in most patients. There were interindividual differences, with ONL thicknesses at most retinal locations ranging from near the detectability limit to a significant fraction of normal. These differences were not clearly related to age. In most patients, there was a thinner ONL inferior to the fovea compared with that in the superior retina. Summary maps obtained by aligning and averaging photoreceptor topography across all young patients showed a relative preservation of ONL in the superior-temporal and temporal pericentral retina. These retinal regions also showed the greatest magnitude of interindividual variation.
Photoreceptor loss in the foveal and extrafoveal retina was prominent, even in the youngest patients studied. Differences in the topography of residual photoreceptors in children with RPE65-LCA suggest that it may be advisable to use individualized ONL mapping to guide the location of subretinal injections for gene therapy and thereby maximize the potential for efficacy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To determine the retinal phenotype of Usher syndrome type III (USH3A) caused by clarin-1 (CLRN1) gene mutations in a non-Finnish population.
Patients with USH3A (n = 13; age range, 24-69) representing 11 different families were studied and the results compared with those from patients with USH2A (n = 24; age range, 17-66). The patients were evaluated by ocular examination, kinetic and static perimetry, near-infrared autofluorescence, and optical coherence tomography (OCT).
Ten of 11 families had Ashkenazi Jewish origins and the N48K CLRN1 mutation. Rod function was lost in the peripheral field in the first two decades of life, but central rod function could be retained for another decade. Peripheral cone function was detectable into the third decade of life. Central cone function had a slower decline that extended for decades. Photoreceptor layer loss and features of retinal remodeling were present in retinal regions with severe visual dysfunction, even at the youngest ages tested. Central retinal structure could be normal in younger patients but structural integrity was lost in older patients. RPE disease generally paralleled photoreceptor degeneration. Comparisons between USH3A and USH2A suggested a common rod and cone phenotype but a more accelerated time course of rod loss in USH3A.
USH3A and USH2A share patterns of rod and cone dysfunction and retinal structural abnormalities. Peripheral function measurements showed USH3A to be more rapidly progressive than USH2A.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To determine the underlying retinal micropathology in subclasses of autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa (ADRP) caused by rhodopsin (RHO) mutations.
Patients with RHO-ADRP (n = 17, ages 6-73 years), representing class A (R135W and P347L) and class B (P23H, T58R, and G106R) functional phenotypes, were studied with optical coherence tomography (OCT), and colocalized visual thresholds were determined by dark- and light-adapted chromatic perimetry. Autofluorescence imaging was performed with near-infrared light. Retinal histology in hT17M-rhodopsin mice was compared with the human results.
Class A patients had only cone-mediated vision. The outer nuclear layer (ONL) thinned with eccentricity and was not detectable within 3 to 4 mm of the fovea. Scotomatous extracentral retina showed loss of ONL, thickening of the inner retina, and demelanization of RPE. Class B patients had superior-inferior asymmetry in function and structure. The superior retina could have normal rod and cone vision, normal lamination (including ONL) and autofluorescence of the RPE melanin; laminopathy was found in the scotomas. With Fourier-domain-OCT, there was apparent inner nuclear layer (INL) thickening in regions with ONL thinning. Retinal regions without ONL had a thick hyporeflective layer that was continuous with the INL from neighboring regions with normal lamination. Transgenic mice had many of the laminar abnormalities found in patients.
Retinal laminar abnormalities were present in both classes of RHO-ADRP and were related to the severity of colocalized vision loss. The results in human class B and the transgenic mice support the following disease sequence: ONL diminution with INL thickening; amalgamation of residual ONL with the thickened INL; and progressive retinal remodeling with eventual thinning.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in the centrosomal-ciliary gene CEP290/NPHP6 are associated with Joubert syndrome and are the most common cause of the childhood recessive blindness known as Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA). An in-frame deletion in Cep290 shows rapid degeneration in the rod-rich mouse retina. To explore the mechanisms of the human retinal disease, we studied CEP290-LCA in patients of different ages (7-48 years) and compared results to Cep290-mutant mice. Unexpectedly, blind CEP290-mutant human retinas retained photoreceptor and inner laminar architecture in the cone-rich central retina, independent of severity of visual loss. Surrounding the cone-rich island was photoreceptor loss and distorted retina, suggesting neural-glial remodeling. The mutant mouse retina at 4-6 weeks of age showed similar features of retinal remodeling, with altered neural and synaptic laminae and Muller glial activation. The visual brain pathways in CEP290-LCA were anatomically intact. Our findings of preserved foveal cones and visual brain anatomy in LCA with CEP290 mutations, despite severe blindness and rapid rod cell death, suggest an opportunity for visual restoration of central vision in this common form of inherited blindness.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To investigate in vivo the retinal microstructure in X-linked retinitis pigmentosa (XLRP) caused by RPGR mutations as a prelude to treatment initiatives for this common form of RP.
Patients with RPGR-XLRP (n = 12; age range, 10-56 years) were studied by optical coherence tomography (OCT) in a wide region of central retina. Overall retinal thickness and outer nuclear layer (ONL) and inner retinal parameters across horizontal and vertical meridians were analyzed and compared.
Retinal architecture of all patients with RPGR mutations was abnormal. At the fovea in younger patients, the ONL could be normal; but, at increasing eccentricities, there was a loss of photoreceptor laminar structure, even at the youngest ages studied. At later ages and advanced disease stages, the ONL was thin and reduced in extent. Inner retinal thickness, in contrast, was normal or hyperthick. Inner retinal thickening was detectable at all ages studied and was strongly associated with ONL loss.
Inner retinal laminar abnormalities in RPGR-XLRP are likely to reflect a neuronal-glial retinal remodeling response to photoreceptor loss and are detectable relatively early in the disease course. These results should be factored into emerging therapeutic strategies for this form of RP.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The visual (retinoid) cycle, the enzymatic pathway that regenerates chromophore after light absorption, is located primarily in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and is essential for rod photoreceptor survival. Whether this pathway also is essential for cone photoreceptor survival is unknown, and there are no data from man or monkey to address this question. The visual cycle is naturally disrupted in humans with Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA), which is caused by mutations in RPE65, the gene that encodes the retinoid isomerase. We investigated such patients over a wide age range (3-52 years) for effects on the cone-rich human fovea. In vivo microscopy of the fovea showed that, even at the youngest ages, patients with RPE65-LCA exhibited cone photoreceptor loss. This loss was incomplete, however, and residual cone photoreceptor structure and function persisted for decades. Basic questions about localization of RPE65 and isomerase activity in the primate eye were addressed by examining normal macaque. RPE65 was definitively localized by immunocytochemistry to the central RPE and, by immunoblotting, appeared to concentrate in the central retina. The central retinal RPE layer also showed a 4-fold higher retinoid isomerase activity than more peripheral RPE. Early cone photoreceptor losses in RPE65-LCA suggest that robust RPE65-based visual chromophore production is important for cones; the residual retained cone structure and function support the speculation that alternative pathways are critical for cone photoreceptor survival.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2007 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To determine macular pigment (MP) optical density (OD) in patients with ABCA4-associated retinal degenerations (ABCA4-RD) and the response of MP and vision to supplementation with lutein.
Patients with Stargardt disease or cone-rod dystrophy and known or suspected disease-causing mutations in the ABCA4 gene were included. All patients had foveal fixation. MPOD profiles were measured with heterochromatic flicker photometry. Serum carotenoids, visual acuity, foveal sensitivity, and retinal thickness were quantified. Changes in MPOD and central vision were determined in a subset of patients receiving oral supplementation with lutein for 6 months.
MPOD in patients ranged from normal to markedly abnormal. As a group, patients with ABCA4-RD had reduced foveal MPOD, and there was a strong correlation with retinal thickness. Average foveal tissue concentration of MP, estimated by dividing MPOD by retinal thickness, was normal in patients, whereas serum concentration of lutein and zeaxanthin was significantly lower than normal. After oral lutein supplementation for 6 months, 91% of the patients showed significant increases in serum lutein, and 63% of the patients' eyes showed a significant augmentation in MPOD. The retinal responders tended to be female and to have lower serum lutein and zeaxanthin, lower MPOD, and greater retinal thickness at baseline. Responding eyes had significantly lower baseline MP concentration than did nonresponding eyes. Central vision was unchanged after the period of supplementation.
MP is strongly affected by the stage of ABCA4 disease leading to abnormal foveal architecture. MP could be augmented by supplemental lutein in some patients. There was no change in central vision after 6 months of lutein supplementation. Long-term influences of this supplement on the natural history of these macular degenerations require further study.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human blindness caused by mutation of visual cycle genes has been discussed as potentially treatable by retinoid replacement either through gene transfer or pharmacological bypass. Mutations in the RDH12 gene disrupt the visual cycle in vitro, but little is known of the in vivo effects of mutant RDH12, other than the association with severe early-onset autosomal recessive retinal disease. The relationship of retinal organization and visual function in patients with RDH12 mutations was determined and comparisons made with the disease from mutations in another visual cycle gene, RPE65.
Young patients with RDH12 mutations were studied with optical coherence tomography (OCT) and colocalized measures of vision with dark-adapted absolute thresholds. Results were compared to those in patients with RPE65 mutations.
Retinal architecture of patients with RDH12 mutations was appreciably distorted, precluding identification of the normal laminae. Some RDH12-mutant retinas were remarkably thick and others were thin, but all had the same dysplastic pattern. A comparison with the structural and functional consequences in patients with mutations in RPE65 indicated that the pathogenesis of retinal degeneration in RDH12 mutations was distinctly different.
The results demand critical consideration of the human disease mechanism and the therapeutic approach in patients with mutations in the putative visual cycle gene RDH12.