macular degeneration

Macular Dystrophy, Vitelliform 4

Clinical Characteristics
Ocular Features: 

This is a late onset form of vitelliform dystrophy in which symptoms are usually noted between the ages of 20 to 45 years.  The vitelliform lesions usually occur singly and are often small.  Some individuals have small drusen-like macular lesions adjacent to the vitelliform lesions, at the periphery of the macula, or even outside the macula.  The lesions contain lipofuscin which can be seen on autofluorescence photographs.  Visual acuity can remain near normal for many years.  The EOG ratio and ERG responses are usually normal or near normal.  Choroidal neovascularization has not been described. 

Systemic Features: 

There are no systemic manifestations.

Genetics

This form of vitelliform dystrophy (VMD4) is caused by heterozygous mutations in the IMPG1 gene (6q14.1).  However, rare families have been reported in which compound heterozygous or homozygous mutations have been found.  Some of the heterozygous parents of children with two mutations were found to have minor fundus changes such as tiny extramacular vitelliform spots in spite of being asymptomatic. This suggests that the transmission pattern of fundus changes may be both autosomal recessive and autosomal dominant. 

Genotyping has identified at least 5 forms of vitelliform macular dystrophy.  In addition to the iconic Best disease (VMD2, 153700) apparently first described by Friedreich Best in 1905 and now attributed to mutations in the Best1 gene, we know of at least 4 more and specific mutations have been identified in three.  No mutation or locus has yet been identified in VMD1 (153840) but it is likely a unique condition since mutations in other genes known to cause vitelliform dystrophy have been ruled out.  Other forms are VMD3 (608161) due to mutations in the PRPH2 gene, VMD4 described here, and VMD5 (616152) caused by mutations in the IMPG2 gene.

Pedigree: 
Autosomal dominant
Autosomal recessive
Treatment
Treatment Options: 

No treatment is available for the vitelliform disease but low vision devices can be helpful in some patients for selected tasks.

References
Article Title: 

Mutations in IMPG1 cause vitelliform macular dystrophies

Manes G, Meunier I, Avila-Fernandez A, Banfi S, Le Meur G, Zanlonghi X, Corton M, Simonelli F, Brabet P, Labesse G, Audo I, Mohand-Said S, Zeitz C, Sahel JA, Weber M, Dollfus H, Dhaenens CM, Allorge D, De Baere E, Koenekoop RK, Kohl S, Cremers FP, Hollyfield JG, Senechal A, Hebrard M, Bocquet B, Ayuso Garcia C, Hamel CP. Mutations in IMPG1 cause vitelliform macular dystrophies. Am J Hum Genet. 2013 Sep 5;93(3):571-8.

PubMed ID: 
23993198

Macular Degeneration, Early-Onset

Clinical Characteristics
Ocular Features: 

Onset of distorted vision has been reported as early as the fourth decade of life with clinical evidence of pigmentary changes in the macula noted in the fifth decade.  Large areas of central RPE atrophy can be seen.  In the single family reported (a father and his 4 sons), there is considerable clinical heterogeneity in the RPE changes in the fundus.  Acuity is variable depending upon the stage of disease.

Systemic Features: 

No systemic disease has been reported.

Genetics

Heterozygous mutations in the FBN2 gene, encoding Fibrillin 2, a component protein of the extracellular matrix that segregates with this presumably autosomal dominant macular disease have been reported. 

Pedigree: 
Autosomal dominant
Treatment
Treatment Options: 

No treatment beyond anti-VEGF therapy is available.  Low vision devices may be helpful.

References
Article Title: 

Rare and common variants in extracellular matrix gene Fibrillin 2 (FBN2) are associated with macular degeneration.

Ratnapriya R, Zhan X, Fariss RN, Branham KE, Zipprer D, Chakarova CF, Sergeev YV, Campos MM, Othman M, Friedman JS, Maminishkis A, Waseem NH, Brooks M, Rajasimha HK, Edwards AO, Lotery A, Klein BE, Truitt BJ, Li B, Schaumberg DA, Morgan DJ, Morrison MA, Souied E, Tsironi EE, Grassmann F, Fishman GA, Silvestri G, Scholl HP, Kim IK, Ramke J, Tuo J, Merriam JE, Merriam JC, Park KH, Olson LM, Farrer LA, Johnson MP, Peachey NS, Lathrop M, Baron RV, Igo RP Jr, Klein R, Hagstrom SA, Kamatani Y, Martin TM, Jiang Y, Conley Y, Sahel JA, Zack DJ, Chan CC, Pericak-Vance MA, Jacobson SG, Gorin MB, Klein ML, Allikmets R, Iyengar SK, Weber BH, Haines JL, Leveillard T, Deangelis MM, Stambolian D, Weeks DE, Bhattacharya SS, Chew EY, Heckenlively JR, Abecasis GR, Swaroop A. Rare and common variants in extracellular matrix gene Fibrillin 2 (FBN2) are associated with macular degeneration. Hum Mol Genet. 2014 Nov 1;23(21):5827-37.

PubMed ID: 
24899048

Fundus Albipunctatus

Clinical Characteristics
Ocular Features: 

This disorder is often considered to belong to the category of retinal disease known as flecked retina syndrome.  Further, the nomenclature is not standardized and varying names have been attached to the more or less characteristic fundus picture consisting of uniformly distributed small yellow-white dots in the retina.  These tend to be concentrated in the midperiphery.  The macula usually is not involved in young people although ERG evidence suggests some worsening of cone dysfunction with age and central acuity may be decreased in midlife.  Frank macular degeneration has been seen clinically .  Delayed dark adaptation can be demonstrated with delays in recovery of rod and cone function.  Patients complain of night blindness beginning in childhood with little evidence of progression.

The disease known as retinitis punctata albescens (136880) may or may not be a unique disorder.  It is sometimes grouped with fundus albipunctatus while others consider it to be a separate entity.  Evidence for its uniqueness is based on the progressive nature of field loss and the presence of pigmentary changes and retinal vascular attenuation which are not found in fundus albipunctatus.  Further, the scotopic ERG waveforms usually do not regenerate.  More discriminating studies, especially genotyping, will likely provide additional information.  It would also be useful to have additional follow-up information on families. 

Systemic Features: 

No systemic disease is associated.

Genetics

Fundus albipunctatus is a genetically heterogeneous disorder.  Mutations in two genes, PRPH2 (6p21.1) and RDH5 (12q13.2) have been found among families.  The inheritance pattern for families with mutations in PRPH2 is consistent with autosomal dominant inheritance while mutations in RDH5 result in an autosomal recessive pattern.  Mutations in RLBP1 have also been found in some families.

Gene studies so far have not been helpful in discriminating between fundus albipunctatus and retinitis punctata albescens (136880).  For example, RLBP1 mutations have been identified among members of the same kindred having the clinical diagnosis of retinitis punctata albescens (136880) among older individuals while younger patients had features of fundus albipunctatus.  Further, the latter disorder has also been described among families with mutations in PRPH2 and RHO hinting at further genetic heterogeneity.

A similar clinical picture may be seen in Bietti crystalline corneoretinopathy (210370), Bardet-Biedl syndrome (209900), and hyperoxaluria (259900).  More information on flecked retina syndromes may be found at Flecked Retina Syndromes.

Pedigree: 
Autosomal dominant
Autosomal recessive
Treatment
Treatment Options: 

No effective treatment is available to restore full receptor cell function.  However, high oral doses of beta-carotene may lead to an improvement in night blindness. Low vision aids could be beneficial when central acuity is damaged.

References
Article Title: 

Retinal Dystrophy, Bothnia Type

Clinical Characteristics
Ocular Features: 

Night blindness occurs from early childhood when the fundus still appears normal.  However, rod responses may be absent from ERG recordings even in the first decade and this is followed by loss of cone responses in older individuals. Rod responses can recover after prolonged dark adaptation but cone function does not recover.  Multifocal ERGs can detect early deterioration of the macula while vision and the appearance of the macula are still normal.

Pigment deposition can sometimes be seen in the retina and the retinal blood vessels may be attenuated.  In young adults the fundus may have the appearance of retinitis albescens but eventually changes resembling central areolar atrophy develop in the macula.  Retinal thinning in the fovea and parafoveal areas has been described.  Progressive loss of vision leads to legal blindness in early adulthood.  The peripheral retina undergoes degenerative changes as well.

Systemic Features: 

No extraocular abnormalities have been reported.

Genetics

Homozygous mutations in the RLBP1 gene (15q26.1) have been identified in patients with Bothnia retinal dystrophy.  The protein product is essential to the proper function of both rod and cone photoreceptors.  When defective the normal cycling of retinoids between RPE cells and photoreceptors is disrupted, thereby negatively impacting what is sometimes called the 'visual cycle'. 

This rod-cone dystrophy has a high prevalence in northern Sweden.

Homozygous mutations in RLBP1 have also been found among patients in fundus albipunctatus (136880), retinitis punctata albescens, and in Newfoundland type retinal dystrophy (607476).

Pedigree: 
Autosomal recessive
Treatment
Treatment Options: 

None has been reported. Tinted lenses can be helpful.

References
Article Title: 

Choroidal Dystrophy, Central Areolar

Clinical Characteristics
Ocular Features: 

The primary feature of this form of macular dystrophy is atrophy of the RPE and choriocapillaris in the central macula.  In early stages among young patients in the second decade of life, some pigment changes are seen in the parafoveal area.  Later, the central macula develops hypopigmentation followed by atrophy of the choriocapillaris.  The area is usually sharply defined but fluorescein angiography often shows multiple window defects beyond the edges.  The same region often has speckled autofluorescence.  Secondary dysfunction of the photoreceptors in this area leads to some mild degree of vision loss in adults between the ages of 30 and 60 years but this progressive disease may eventually result in legal blindness.  The ERG demonstrates a cone dystrophy. The rate of disease progression is highly variable.  Visual acuity varies considerably as does the appearance of the macula.  Older individuals may be misdiagnosed as having age-related macular degeneration. 

Systemic Features: 

There is no associated systemic disease. 

Genetics

This is a genetically heterogeneous disorder with mutations in several genes responsible.  The majority of patients have one of several mutations in the PRPH2 gene (6p21.1-cen) and the inheritance pattern seems to be autosomal recessive (CACD2).  Other family trees in which mutations in PRPH2 were excluded suggest autosomal dominant inheritance (CACD3; 613144).  CACD1 is caused by an unknown mutation localized to 17p13. 

The gene product of PRPH2 is active in the retina. It is important to the integrity and stability of the structures that contain light-sensitive pigments (e.g., photoreceptors). More than 100 mutations have been identified. The resultant phenotype can be highly variable, even within members of the same family but most affected individuals have some degree of pigmentary retinopathy within the macula or throughout the posterior pole.

The altered gene product resulting from mutations in PRPH2 often leads to symptoms beginning in midlife as a result of the slow degeneration of photoreceptors. This database contains at least 11 disorders in which PRPH2 mutations have been found.

Pedigree: 
Autosomal dominant
Autosomal recessive
Treatment
Treatment Options: 

There is no treatment of the macular disease.  However, some patients can benefit from low vision aids. 

References
Article Title: 

Central areolar choroidal dystrophy

Boon CJ, Klevering BJ, Cremers FP, Zonneveld-Vrieling MN, Theelen T, Den Hollander AI, Hoyng CB. Central areolar choroidal dystrophy. Ophthalmology. 2009 Apr;116(4):771-82, 782.e1.

PubMed ID: 
19243827

Spinocerebellar Ataxia 7

Clinical Characteristics
Ocular Features: 

Pigmentary changes in the retina are somewhat variable but often begin with a granular appearance in the macula and spread into the periphery.  The macula often becomes atrophic and dyschromatopsia is common.   Retinal thinning is evident, especially in the macula.  Decreased visual acuity and loss of color vision are early symptoms and the ERG shows abnormalities of both rod and cone function.  External ophthalmoplegia without ptosis is a frequent sign.  Most adults and some children eventually are blind. 

Systemic Features: 

Symptoms of developmental delay and failure to thrive may appear in the first year of life followed by loss of motor milestones.  Dysarthria and ataxia are nearly universal features while pyramidal and extrapyramidal signs are more variable.  This can be a rapidly progressive disease and children who develop symptoms by 14 months are often deceased before two years of age.  However, adults with mild disease can survive into the 5th and 6th decades.  Peripheral neuropathy with sensory loss and motor deficits are usually present to some degree but the range of clinical disease is wide.  Cognitive decline and some degree of dementia occur sometimes. 

Genetics

Spinocerebellar ataxia 7 is caused by expanded trinucleotide repeats (CAG) in the ATXN7 gene (3p21.1-p12) and inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern.  The number of repeats is variable and correlated with severity of disease.  Most patients with 36 or more repeats have significant disease. This disorder is sometimes classified as a progressive cone-rod dystrophy.  It is sometimes referred to as olivopontocerebellar atrophy type III or OPCA3.

This disorder exhibits genetic anticipation especially with paternal transmission as succeeding generations often have earlier onset with more severe and more rapidly progressive disease. This is explained by the fact that younger generations tend to have a larger number of repeats and sometimes the diagnosis is made in children before the disease appears in parents or grandparents.

Spinocerebellar ataxia 1 (164400) is a similar autosomal dominant disorder with many of the same clinical and genetic features.  It is caused by excess CAG repeats on the ATXN1 gene on chromosome 6. 

Pedigree: 
Autosomal dominant
Treatment
Treatment Options: 

No effective treatment is known for the disease.  Low vision aids and mobility training may be useful in early stages. 

References
Article Title: 

Cone-Rod Dystrophies, X-Linked

Clinical Characteristics
Ocular Features: 

Three X-linked forms of progressive cone-rod dystrophies each with mutations in different genes have been identified.  Central vision is often lost in the second or third decades of life but photophobia is usually noted before vision loss.  Cones are primarily involved but rod degeneration occurs over time.  The ERG reveals defective photopic responses early followed by a decrease in rod responses.   All three types are rare disorders affecting primarily males with symptoms of decreased acuity, photophobia, loss of color vision, and myopia.  The color vision defect early is incomplete but progressive cone degeneration eventually leads to achromatopsia.    Peripheral visual fields are usually full until late in the disease when constriction and nightblindness are evident.  The retina may have a tapetal-like sheen.  RPE changes in the macula often give it a granular appearance and there may be a bull's-eye configuration.   Fine nystagmus may be present as well.  The optic nerve often has some pallor beginning temporally.  Carrier females can have some diminished acuity, myopia, RPE changes, and even photophobia but normal color vision and ERG responses at least among younger individuals.

There is considerable variation in the clinical signs and symptoms in the X-linked cone-rod dystrophies among both affected males and heterozygous females.  Visual acuity varies widely and is to some extent age dependent.  Vision can be normal into the fourth and fifth decades but may reach the count fingers level after that. 

Systemic Features: 

None.

Genetics

Mutations in at least 3 genes on the X chromosome cause X-linked cone-rod dystrophy.

CORDX1 (304020) is caused by mutations in an alternative exon 15 (ORG15) of the RPGR gene (Xp11.4) which is also mutant in several forms of X-linked retinitis pigmentosa (300455, 300029).  These disorders are sometimes considered examples of X-linked ocular disease resulting from a primary ciliary dyskinesia (244400).

CORDX2 (300085) is caused by mutations in an unidentified gene at Xq27.  A single family has been reported.

CORDX3 (300476) results from mutations in CACNA1F.  Mutations in the same gene also cause a form of congenital stationary night blindness, CSNB2A (300071).  The latter, however, is a stationary disorder with significant nightblindness and mild dyschromatopsia, often with an adult onset, and is associated with high myopia. Aland Island Eye Disease (300600) is another allelic disorder.   

Pedigree: 
X-linked dominant, father affected
X-linked dominant, mother affected
X-linked recessive, carrier mother
X-linked recessive, father affected
Treatment
Treatment Options: 

There is no treatment for these dystrophies but red-tinted lenses provide comfort and may sometimes improve acuity to some extent.  Low vision aids can be helpful. 

References
Article Title: 

Stargardt Disease

Clinical Characteristics
Ocular Features: 

Stargardt disease or fundus flavimaculatus is a progressive form of juvenile macular degeneration with considerable clinical and genetic heterogeneity.  It may be considered a syndromal cone-rod dystrophy because of overlapping clinical features such as loss of color vision and photophobia in some patients.  Adding to the confusion is the fact that mutations in at least 4 genes are responsible for similar clinical characteristics.  Due to the lack of diagnostic distinctions and the wide range of nonspecific clinical manifestations, Stargardt disease and fundus flavimaculatus are discussed here as a single entity.

Onset of vision loss is often noted late in the first decade of life usually with rapid progression.  However, some patients are asymptomatic until much later, even into the fifth decade.  There is evidence that patients with an early onset have a worse prognosis compared to those with a later onset.  Nevertheless, large series of patients contain at least 23% with 20/40 or better acuity, about 20% with 20/50 -20/100, 55% have 20/200-20/400, and a small number have vision less than 20/400. 

Some color discrimination is lost and photophobia may be a complaint.  Dark adaptation is prolonged but nightblindness does not usually occur and peripheral visual fields are normal.  The posterior pole characteristically has yellowish pisciform, round, and linear subretinal lipofuscin deposits which often extend to the equator.  These may be present before clinical symptoms are present.  Histopathology reveals accumulations of this material in RPE cells.  Atrophy of the RPE in the same region is often visible as well but these changes may be subtle initially.  Some patients have peripheral pigment clumping which may resemble the bone spicule configuration seen in retinitis pigmentosa.  However, retinal vessel caliber is normal in Stargardt disease.  Extensive macular disease can be associated with temporal pallor of the optic nerve.  The ERG shows reduced photopic responses with normal or near normal scotopic tracings.  Fluorescein angiography often reveals more extensive disease than seen on fundoscopy.  Window defects are common in the macula where the RPE is atrophied.  The flecks may be hypo- or hyperfluorescent.  Over 50% of patients have patches of angiographically dark choroid in the posterior pole which is thought to be secondary to transmission blockage by lipofuscin accumulations in the RPE. 

Systemic Features: 

None.

Genetics

This group of disorders may be caused by mutations in at least 4 genes.  These are: STGD1 (248200) caused by mutations in the ABCA4 gene located at 1p22.1, or in CNGB3 (262300) (8q21-q22) which also is mutant in achromatopsia 3 (ACHM3), STGD3 (605512) caused by mutations in the ELOVL4 gene at 6q14, and STGD4 (603786) caused by a mutation in PROM1 on chromosome 4p.  STGD4 and STGD3 disease have been found in pedigrees consistent with autosomal dominant inheritance but STGD1 disease seems to be inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern.

There is considerable diagnostic confusion regarding the clinical phenotypes and the classification of many patients.  In particular, areolar macular dystrophy, retinitis pigmentosa, juvenile macular degeneration, and cone dystrophies have been reported in association with several of these mutations and reports have also associated Stargardt disease with mutations in RDS.

A single family with a brother and sister with Stargardt disease and neurological malformations has been reported (612948).  Both had developmental delays associated with absence or hypoplasia of the corpus callosum, upslanted lid fissures, 'flared eyebrows', a broad nasal tip, a broad face with a pointed chin, and sensorineural hearing loss along with mild digital malformations.  Evidence of macular degeneration was seen at age 7 years and vision in both individuals was in the 20/100-20/200 range. No associated locus or mutation has been identified.

Genomics should help clarify the nosology especially among individuals reported to have areolar macular dystrophy, retinitis pigmentosa, juvenile macular degeneration, and cone dystrophies in association with several of these mutations.  Reports have also associated Stargardt disease with mutations in RDS.

Pedigree: 
Autosomal dominant
Autosomal recessive
Treatment
Treatment Options: 

There is no treatment for this disorder but low vision aids can be helpful especially in the early stages of the disease.

Isotretinoin has been shown to slow the accumulation of lipofuscin pigments in mice but its role in human Stargardt disease has not been reported.  Trials using stem cells are underway with encouraging early results.

References
Article Title: 

Comprehensive analysis of patients with Stargardt macular dystrophy reveals new genotype-phenotype correlations and unexpected diagnostic revisions

Zaneveld J, Siddiqui S, Li H, Wang X, Wang H, Wang K, Li H, Ren H, Lopez I, Dorfman A, Khan A, Wang F, Salvo J, Gelowani V, Li Y, Sui R, Koenekoop R, Chen R. Comprehensive analysis of patients with Stargardt macular dystrophy reveals new genotype-phenotype correlations and unexpected diagnostic revisions. Genet Med. 2014 Dec 4.  [Epub ahead of print].

PubMed ID: 
25474345

Blue Cone Monochromacy

Clinical Characteristics
Ocular Features: 

This is usually a stationary cone dysfunction disorder in which the causative mechanism has yet to be worked out.  Typical patients have severe visual impairment from birth and some have pendular nystagmus and photophobia similar to other achromatopsia disorders.  Vision seems to be dependent solely on blue cones and rod photoreceptors.  The ERG always shows relatively normal rod function whereas the cones are usually dysfunctional. 

In some families, however, there is evidence of disease progression with macular RPE changes and myopia.  This has led to the designation of 'cone dystrophy 5' for such cases even though the mutation locus impacts the same cone opsin genes at Xq28 that are implicated in the more typical BCM phenotype.

Systemic Features: 

None.

Genetics

This is an X-linked recessive form of colorblindness in which DNA changes in the vicinity of Xq28 alters the red and green visual pigment cluster genes via recombination or point mutations.  Alternatively, the control locus adjacent to the cluster may be altered.  In either case, the result may be a loss of function of these genes leaving blue-cone monochromacy.

The mutation for cone dystrophy 5 maps to Xq26.1-qter but the locus encompasses the opsin gene complex at Xq28 as well. 

At least a quarter of individuals with blue cone monochromacy, however, do not have mutations in the vicinity of Xq28 suggesting that additional genetic heterogeneity remains.

Pedigree: 
X-linked recessive, carrier mother
X-linked recessive, father affected
Treatment
Treatment Options: 

Low vision aids can be helpful.  Tinted lenses for photophobia allow for greater visual comfort.  A magenta (mixture of red and blue) tint allows for best visual acuity since it protects the rods from saturation while allowing the blue cones to be maximally stimulated. 

References
Article Title: 

X-linked cone dystrophy caused by mutation of the red and green cone opsins

Gardner JC, Webb TR, Kanuga N, Robson AG, Holder GE, Stockman A, Ripamonti C, Ebenezer ND, Ogun O, Devery S, Wright GA, Maher ER, Cheetham ME, Moore AT, Michaelides M, Hardcastle AJ. X-linked cone dystrophy caused by mutation of the red and green cone opsins. Am J Hum Genet. 2010 Jul 9;87(1):26-39.

PubMed ID: 
20579627

Genetic heterogeneity among blue-cone monochromats

Nathans J, Maumenee IH, Zrenner E, Sadowski B, Sharpe LT, Lewis RA, Hansen E, Rosenberg T, Schwartz M, Heckenlively JR, et al. Genetic heterogeneity among blue-cone monochromats. Am J Hum Genet. 1993 Nov;53(5):987-1000.

PubMed ID: 
8213841

Molecular genetics of human blue cone monochromacy

Nathans J, Davenport CM, Maumenee IH, Lewis RA, Hejtmancik JF, Litt M, Lovrien E, Weleber R, Bachynski B, Zwas F, et al. Molecular genetics of human blue cone monochromacy. Science. 1989 Aug 25;245(4920):831-8.

PubMed ID: 
2788922

Tay-Sachs Disease

Clinical Characteristics
Ocular Features: 

Retinal ganglion cells become dysfunctional as a result of the toxic accumulation of intra-lysosomal GM2 ganglioside molecules causing early visual symptoms.  These cells in high density around the fovea centralis create a grayish-white appearance.  Since ganglion cells are absent in the foveolar region, this area retains the normal reddish appearance, producing the cherry-red spot.  Axonal decay and loss of the ganglion cells leads to optic atrophy and blindness.

Systemic Features: 

Sandoff disease may be clinically indistinguishable from Tay-Sachs disease even though the same enzyme is defective (albeit in separate subunits A and B that together comprise the functional hexosaminidase enzyme).   The infantile form of this lysosomal storage disease is the most common.  Infants appear to be normal until about 3-6 months of age when neurological development slows and muscles become weak.  Seizures, loss of interest, and progressive paralysis begin after this together with loss of vision and hearing.  The facies are coarse and the tongue is enlarged.  An exaggerated startle response is considered an early and helpful sign in the diagnosis.  Hepatosplenomegaly is usually not present.  Among infants with early onset disease, death usually occurs by 3 or 4 years of age.     

Ataxia with spinocerebellar degeneration, motor neuron disease, and progressive dystonia are more common in individuals with later onset of neurodegeneration.  The juvenile and adult-onset forms of the disease also progress more slowly.

Genetics

Tay-Sachs disease is an autosomal recessive disorder caused by mutations in the hexosaminidase A gene, HEXA, (15q23-q24).  The altered enzyme is unable to break down GM2 ganglioside which accumulates in lysosomes and leads to neuronal death.

A related form, clinically and biochemically similar to Tay-Sachs disease , is GM2-gangliosidosis (272750) but it is caused by mutations in GM2A (5q31.3-q33.1) with normal hexosaminidase A and B.  Sandhoff disease (268800) is clinically indistinguishable but caused by mutations in the beta subunit of hexosaminidase (HEXB) A and B at 5q13. 

Pedigree: 
Autosomal recessive
Treatment
Treatment Options: 

Treatment is largely supportive.  Anticonvulsant pharmaceuticals may help in the control of seizures but require frequent modifications as the neuronal degeneration progresses.  Airways and nutrition maintainence are important.

Application of gene therapy to cell cultures have shown promise in restoring enzyme function and may someday lead to human treatment. 

    

References
Article Title: 

Tay-Sachs disease

Fernandes Filho JA, Shapiro BE. Tay-Sachs disease. Arch Neurol. 2004 Sep;61(9):1466-8. Review.

PubMed ID: 
15364698

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