night blindness

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) and retinitis punctata albescens.

Treatment Options

None has been reported. Tinted lenses can be helpful.

References

Burstedt M, Jonsson F, Köhn L, Burstedt M, Kivitalo M, Golovleva I. Genotype-phenotype correlations in Bothnia dystrophy caused by RLBP1 gene sequence variations. Acta Ophthalmol. 2012 May 2. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-3768.2012.02431.x. [Epub ahead of print]

PubMed ID: 
22551409

Gränse L, Abrahamson M, Ponjavic V, Andréasson S. Electrophysiological findings in two young patients with Bothnia dystrophy and a mutation in the RLBP1 gene. Ophthalmic Genet. 2001 Jun;22(2):97-105

PubMed ID: 
11449319

Burstedt MS, Forsman-Semb K, Golovleva I, Janunger T, Wachtmeister L, Sandgren O. Ocular phenotype of bothnia dystrophy, an autosomal recessive retinitis pigmentosa associated with an R234W mutation in the RLBP1 gene. Arch Ophthalmol. 2001 Feb;119(2):260-7.

PubMed ID: 
11176989

Night Blindness, Congenital Stationary

Clinical Characteristics

Ocular Features

Night blindness is a feature of many pigmentary and other retinal disorders, most of which are progressive.  However, there is also a group of genetically heterogeneous disorders, with generally stable scotopic defects and without RPE changes, known as congenital stationary night blindness (CSNB).  At least 9 mutant genes are responsible with phenotypes so similar that genotyping is usually necessary to distinguish them.  All are caused by defective photoreceptor-to-bipolar cell signaling with common ERG findings of reduced or absent b-waves and generally normal a-waves.  The photopic ERG is usually abnormal to some degree as well and visual acuity may be subnormal.  In the pregenomic era, subtleties of ERG responses were frequently used in an attempt to distinguish different forms of CSNB.  Genotyping now enables classification with unprecedented precision.

The night blindness is usually nonprogressive as the name implies.

Systemic Features

No systemic disease is associated with congenital stationary night blindness.

Genetics

This recently reported type of congenital stationary night blindness has not yet been further classified.  It is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern resulting from homozygous mutations in GRP179.  The gene encodes an orphan G protein receptor whose function is as yet unknown.

Other autosomal recessive CSNB disorders are: CSNB2B (610427), CSNB1B (257270), and CSNB1C (613216).

Treatment Options

No treatment beyond correction of the refractive error is available but tinted lenses are sometimes used to enhance vision.

References

Audo I, Bujakowska K, Orhan E, Poloschek CM, Defoort-Dhellemmes S, Drumare I, Kohl S, Luu TD, Lecompte O, Zrenner E, Lancelot ME, Antonio A, Germain A, Michiels C, Audier C, Letexier M, Saraiva JP, Leroy BP, Munier FL, Mohand-Saïd S, Lorenz B, Friedburg C, Preising M, Kellner U, Renner AB, Moskova-Doumanova V, Berger W, Wissinger B, Hamel CP, Schorderet DF, De Baere E, Sharon D, Banin E, Jacobson SG, Bonneau D, Zanlonghi X, Le Meur G, Casteels I, Koenekoop R, Long VW, Meire F, Prescott K, de Ravel T, Simmons I, Nguyen H, Dollfus H, Poch O, Léveillard T, Nguyen-Ba-Charvet K, Sahel JA, Bhattacharya SS, Zeitz C. Whole-Exome Sequencing Identifies Mutations in GPR179 Leading to Autosomal-Recessive Complete Congenital Stationary Night Blindness. Am J Hum Genet. 2012 Feb 10;90(2):321-30.

PubMed ID: 
22325361

Peachey NS, Ray TA, Florijn R, Rowe LB, Sjoerdsma T, Contreras-Alcantara S, Baba K, Tosini G, Pozdeyev N, Iuvone PM, Bojang P Jr, Pearring JN, Simonsz HJ, van Genderen M, Birch DG, Traboulsi EI, Dorfman A, Lopez I, Ren H, Goldberg AF, Nishina PM, Lachapelle P, McCall MA, Koenekoop RK, Bergen AA, Kamermans M, Gregg RG. GPR179 Is Required for Depolarizing Bipolar Cell Function and Is Mutated in Autosomal-Recessive Complete Congenital Stationary Night Blindness. Am J Hum Genet. 2012 Feb 10;90(2):331-9.

PubMed ID: 
22325362

Retinitis Pigmentosa with Ataxia

Clinical Characteristics

Ocular Features

Pigmentary retinopathy has been noted by 6 months of age. Typical symptoms of retinitis pigmentosa are reported by early childhood.  The visual fields are progressively constricted and a ring scotoma can be plotted.  Night blindness and visual acuity loss are evident in the first decade of life and progressively worsen leading to severe handicaps by the third.  Fundus pigmentation in the midperiphery becomes more prominent and in at least some patients the pattern consists of typical bone spicules.  Cellophane maculopathy has been described.

Systemic Features

Proprioceptive deficits and areflexia appear in early childhood and ataxia worsens as individuals mature.  Scoliosis and general weakness and wasting become prominent manifestations.  Sensory neuropathy with loss of vibratory and position sense, astereognosia, and agraphesthesia can become apparent in the first decade of life.  Walking is delayed and gait abnormalities are clearly evident by the second decade leading to orthopedic deformities such as scoliosis.  Unassisted walking becomes impossible.  The intrinsic hand and foot muscles also have mild weakness.  Sural nerve biopsy may reveal loss of large myelinated fibers.  Hyperintense signals in the posterior spinal columns can be seen on MRI.  No anatomic changes have been described in the cerebrum or cerebellum.

Genetics

This is an autosomal recessive disorder resulting from homozygous mutations in FLVCR1 (1q32.2-q41).  This disorder has some clinical similarities to Biemond 1 syndrome but differs in the inheritance pattern and the molecular basis.

Treatment Options

No specific treatment is available but physical therapy and low vision aids may improve the quality of life.

References

Rajadhyaksha AM, Elemento O, Puffenberger EG, Schierberl KC, Xiang JZ, Putorti ML, Berciano J, Poulin C, Brais B, Michaelides M, Weleber RG, Higgins JJ. Mutations in FLVCR1 cause posterior column ataxia and retinitis pigmentosa. Am J Hum Genet. 2010 Nov 12;87(5):643-54.

PubMed ID: 
21070897

Higgins JJ, Morton DH, Patronas N, Nee LE. An autosomal recessive disorder with posterior column ataxia and retinitis pigmentosa. Neurology. 1997 Dec;49(6):1717-20.

PubMed ID: 
9409377

Neuropathy, Ataxia, and Retinitis Pigmentosa

Clinical Characteristics

Ocular Features

Night blindness and visual field restriction are early symptoms usually in the second decade of life.  The retina may first show a salt-and-pepper pigmentary pattern which later resembles the classic bone-spicule pattern of retinitis pigmentosa with vascular attenuation.  The optic nerve becomes pale and eventually marked optic atrophy develops.  Severe vision loss is evident in young adults and some patients become blind. 

Systemic Features

The onset of systemic symptoms such as unsteadiness occurs some time in the second decade of life.  Irritability, delayed development, and psychomotor retardation may be evident in children whereas older individuals can have frank dementia.  The MRI may reveal cerebral and cerebellar atrophy.  Seizures may have their onset by the third decade.  Numbness, tingling and pain in the extremities are common.  EMG and nerve conduction studies can demonstrate a peripheral neuropathy.  Neurogenic muscle weakness can be marked and muscle biopsy may show partial denervation. Some patients have hearing loss.  A few patients have cardiac conduction defects. 

Genetics

This is a mitochondrial disorder with pedigrees showing maternal transmission.  The mutation (8993T-G) occurs in a subunit of mitochondrial H(+)-ATPase or MTATP6.  The amount of heteroplasmy is variable and likely responsible for the clinical heterogeneity in this disorder.  Individuals with more than 90% mutated chromosomes are considered to have a subtype of Leigh syndrome (MILS) with earlier onset (3-12 months of age).  NARP patients usually have 70-80% or less of mutated mitochondria.  The amount of heteroplasmy may vary among tissues. 

Treatment Options

No treatment is available for this disease but low vision aids can be helpful in early stages of disease.  Recently it has been demonstrated that alpha-ketoglutarate/aspartate application to fibroblast cell cultures can provide some protection from cell death in NARP suggesting a potential therapeutic option. 

References

Sgarbi G, Casalena GA, Baracca A, Lenaz G, DiMauro S, Solaini G. Human NARP mitochondrial mutation metabolism corrected with alpha-ketoglutarate/aspartate: a potential new therapy. Arch Neurol. 2009 Aug;66(8):951-7.

PubMed ID: 
19667215

Kerrison JB, Biousse V, Newman NJ. Retinopathy of NARP syndrome. Arch Ophthalmol. 2000 Feb;118(2):298-9.

PubMed ID: 
10676807

Jalili Syndrome

Clinical Characteristics

Ocular Features

Symptoms of photophobia and reduced vision are present in the first years of life.  Pendular nystagmus is common.  Color vision is defective and is characterized by some as a form of achromatopsia, perhaps better described as dyschromatopsia.  Reduced night vision is noted by the end of the first decade of life.  OCT reveals reduced foveal and retinal thickness.  The macula appears atrophic with pigment mottling and the peripheral retina can resemble retinitis pigmentosa with bone spicule pigment changes.  Retinal vessels may be narrow.  The ERG show reduced responses in both photopic and scotopic recordings.  This form of rod-cone dystrophy is progressive with central acuity decreasing with age. 

Systemic Features

The teeth are abnormally shaped and discolored from birth.  The amelogenesis imperfecta consists of hypoplasia and hypomineralization that is present in both deciduous and permanent teeth.  Tooth enamel is mineralized only to 50% of normal and is similar to that of dentine. 

Genetics

This is an autosomal recessive condition caused by mutations in the CNNM4 gene at 2q11.2. 

Treatment Options

No treatment is available for the ocular condition but red-tinted lenses and low vision aids may be helpful.  The teeth require dental repair. 

References

Parry DA, Mighell AJ, El-Sayed W, Shore RC, Jalili IK, Dollfus H, Bloch-Zupan A, Carlos R, Carr IM, Downey LM, Blain KM, Mansfield DC, Shahrabi M, Heidari M, Aref P, Abbasi M, Michaelides M, Moore AT, Kirkham J, Inglehearn CF. Mutations in CNNM4 cause Jalili syndrome, consisting of autosomal-recessive cone-rod dystrophy and amelogenesis imperfecta. Am J Hum Genet. 2009 Feb;84(2):266-73.

PubMed ID: 
19200525

Jalili IK, Smith NJ. A progressive cone-rod dystrophy and amelogenesis imperfecta: a new syndrome. J Med Genet. 1988 Nov;25(11):738-40.

PubMed ID: 
3236352

Cone-Rod Dystrophies, AD and AR

Clinical Characteristics

Ocular Features

Cone-rod dystrophies (CRD) are a group of pigmentary retinopathies that have early and important changes in the macula.  Cone dysfunction occurs first and is often followed by rod photoreceptor degeneration.

Common initial symptoms are decreased visual acuity, dyschromatopsia, and photophobia which are often noted in the first decade of life.  Night blindness occurs later as the disease progresses.  A fine nystagmus is also common. Visual field defects include an initial central scotoma with patchy peripheral defects followed by larger defects in later stages.  The fundus exam can be normal initially, but is followed by pigmentary bone spicule changes, attenuation of retinal vessels, waxy pallor of the optic disc and retinal atrophy.  A ring maculopathy surrounding the fovea is usually evident.  The ERG first reveals photopic defects and later scotopic changes.  Fluorescein angiography and fundus autofluorescence generally reveal atrophic retinopathy.  Many patients eventually become legally blind as the disease progresses and some end up with no light perception.

Cone-rod dystrophies are a group of disorders separate from rod-cone dystrophies where the primary defect is in the rod photoreceptors with typical pigmentary changes in the peripheral retina. The progression of vision loss is generally slower in rod-cone dystrophies. Cone dystrophies comprise another group of disorders with exclusive cone involvement in which the macula often has a normal appearance in association with loss of central acuity.

Systemic Features

No systemic disease is associated with simple cone-rod dystrophies.  See below for syndromal disorders with cone-rod dystrophy. 

Genetics

Non-syndromic cone-rod dystrophies can be either autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive or X-linked and are caused by defects in at least 17 different genes.  This database entry discusses only the autosomal disorders.  See X-linked cone-rod dystrophies in a separate entry.

Cone-rod dystrophies inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern include:

CORD2 (120970) is caused by mutations in CRX at 19q13.3, a homeobox gene responsible for the development of photoreceptor cells.  These are responsible for 5-10% of autosomal dominant cone-rod dystrophy cases (602225) and can also cause one type (LCA7) of Leber congenital amaurosis (602225) and a late-onset retinitis pigmentosa phenotype.

CORD5 (600977) is caused by mutations in the PITPNM3 gene at 17p13.1. 

CORD6 (601777) is caused by a mutation in GUCY2D in a similar location on chromosome 17. 

CORD7 (603649) is caused by mutations in RIMS1 at 6q12-q13.

Mutations in AIPL1 (604392), located in the same region, usually causes a form of Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA4) as well as retinitis pigmentosa (604393) but has also been reported in a cone-rod pigmentary retinopathy.

CORD11 (610381) is caused by mutations in RAXL1 (19p13.3).

CORD12 (612657) results from mutations in the PROM1 gene (4p15.3).

Mutations in the gene GUCA1A on chromosome 6p21.1 causes CORD14 (602093).

An as yet unclassified autosomal dominant type of cone-rod dystrophy has recently been localized to 10q26.

Cone-rod dystrophies inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern include:

Mutations in ABCA4 at 1p21-p13 is responsible for 30-60% of cases of autosomal recessive CRD (CORD3; 604116) .  ABCA4 is also known to cause autosomal recessive Stargardt disease.

CORD8 (605549) has been found in a single consanguineous family and the mutation localized to 1q12-q24.

ADAM9 (602713) at 8p11 and 8p11.23 contains mutations that have been shown to cause autosomal recessive CORD9 in several consanguineous families.

Mutations in RPGRIP1 (14q11) are responsible for CORD13 (608194).

The CDHR1 gene (10q23.1) contains mutations that cause CORD15 (613660).

Other autosomal CRD disorders are CORD1 (600624) described in a single individual and possibly those due to mutations in HRG4 at 17q11.2 (604011).

Syndromal cone-rod dystrophies:

Cone-rod dystrophy may also be associated with other syndromes, such as Bardet-Biedl syndrome (209900), or spinocerebellar ataxia Type 7 (164500), autosomal recessive amelogenesis imperfecta with cone-rod dystrophy or Jalili syndrome (217080), neurofibromatosis type I (162200), and hypotrichosis with juvenile macular dystrophy and alopecia (601553).  Metabolic disorders associated with cone-rod dystrophy include Refsum disease with phytanic acid abnormality (266500) and Alport syndrome (301050). 

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

Kamenarova K, Cherninkova S, Romero Durán M, Prescott D, Valdés Sánchez ML, Mitev V, Kremensky I, Kaneva R, Bhattacharya SS, Tournev I, Chakarova C. A novel locus for autosomal dominant cone-rod dystrophy maps to chromosome 10q. Eur J Hum Genet. 2012 Aug 29. doi: 10.1038/ejhg.2012.158. [Epub ahead of print]

PubMed ID: 
22929024

Hamel CP. Cone rod dystrophies. Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2007 Feb 1;2:7. Review.

PubMed ID: 
17270046

Michaelides M, Hardcastle AJ, Hunt DM, Moore AT. Progressive cone and cone-rod dystrophies: phenotypes and underlying molecular genetic basis. Surv Ophthalmol. 2006 May-Jun;51(3):232-58. Review.

PubMed ID: 
16644365

Retinitis Pigmentosa, AR

Clinical Characteristics

Ocular Features

The term retinitis pigmentosa is applied to a large group of disorders with great clinical and genetic heterogeneity.  The ocular disease is characterized by night blindness, field constriction, and pigmentary changes in the retina.  The latter is sometimes described as having a ‘bone corpuscle’ appearance with a perivascular distribution.  A ring scotoma is usually evident.  Age of onset and rate of progression is highly variable, even within families.  The rods are impacted early but cone deterioration with loss of central vision usually follows.  Some patients complain of dyschromatopsia and photophobia.  The ERG generally documents this progression but the mfERG shows wide variations in central cone functioning.  Legal blindness is common by the 5thdecade of life or later.  The course of clinical and ERG changes is more aggressive in the X-linked form than in the autosomal dominant disease.  The final common denominator for all types is first rod and then cone photoreceptor loss through apoptosis.

As many as 50% of patients develop posterior subcapsular cataracts.  The vitreous often contains cells and particulate debris.   Retinal arterioles are often attenuated and the optic nerve may have a waxy pallor, especially late in the disease.  Occasional patients have cysts in the macula.  Some patients experience continuous photopsia. 

Systemic Features

The ‘simple’ or nonsyndromal type of RP described here has no systemic features.  However, the retinopathy is seen in a number of syndromes and, of course, in some infectious diseases as well.  It is more accurate to label the fundus finding as 'pigmentary retinopathy' in such cases.

Genetics

A significant proportion of RP cases occur sporadically, i.e., without a family history.  Mutations in more than 30 genes cause autosomal recessive RP disorders and these account for more than half of all cases of retinitis pigmentosa.  More than 100 mutations have been identified in the RHO gene (3q21-q24) alone.  Mutations in some genes cause RP in both autosomal recessive and autosomal dominant inheritance patterns.  Compound heterozygosity is relatively common in autosomal recessive disease.  See OMIM 268000 for a complete listing of mutations.

Many genes associated with retinitis pigmentosa have also been implicated in other pigmentary retinopathies.  In addition, numerous phenocopies occur, caused by a variety of drugs, trauma, infections and numerous neurological disorders.  To make diagnosis even more difficult, the fundus findings and ERG responses in nonsyndromic RP in most patients are too nonspecific to be useful for classification. Extensive systemic and ocular evaluations are important and should be combined with genotyping in both familial and nonfamilial cases to determine the diagnosis and prognosis. 

Treatment Options

Photoreceptor transplantation has been tried in without improvement in central vision or interruption in the rate of vision loss.  Longer term results are needed.  Resensitizing photoreceptors with halorhodopsin using archaebacterial vectors shows promise in mice.  High doses of vitamin A palmitate slow the rate of vision loss but plasma levels and liver function need to be checked at least annually.  Oral acetazolamide can be helpful in reducing macular edema.

Low vision aids and mobility training can be facilitating for many patients.  Cataract surgery may restore several lines of vision, at least temporarily.

Several pharmaceuticals should be avoided, including isotretinoin, sildenafil, and vitamin E. 

References

Jacobson SG, Cideciyan AV. Treatment possibilities for retinitis pigmentosa. N Engl J Med. 2010 Oct 21;363(17):1669-71.

PubMed ID: 
20961252

Busskamp V, Duebel J, Balya D, Fradot M, Viney TJ, Siegert S, Groner AC, Cabuy E, Forster V, Seeliger M, Biel M, Humphries P, Paques M, Mohand-Said S, Trono D, Deisseroth K, Sahel JA, Picaud S, Roska B. Genetic reactivation of cone photoreceptors restores visual responses in retinitis pigmentosa. Science. 2010 Jul 23;329(5990):413-7.

PubMed ID: 
20576849

Jan√°ky M, P√°lffy A, De√°k A, Szil√°gyi M, Benedek G. Multifocal ERG reveals several patterns of cone degeneration in retinitis pigmentosa with concentric narrowing of the visual field. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2007 Jan;48(1):383-9.

PubMed ID: 
17197558

Berger AS, Tezel TH, Del Priore LV, Kaplan HJ. Photoreceptor transplantation in retinitis pigmentosa: short-term follow-up. Ophthalmology. 2003 Feb;110(2):383-91.

PubMed ID: 
12578785

Retinitis Pigmentosa, AD

Clinical Characteristics

Ocular Features

Retinitis pigmentosa is a large group of disorders with great clinical and genetic heterogeneity.  The ocular disease is characterized by night blindness, field constriction, and pigmentary changes in the retina.  The later may have a ‘bone corpuscle’ appearance with a perivascular distribution.  A ring scotoma is sometimes evident.  Age of onset and rate of progression is highly variable, even within families.  The rods are impacted early but cone deterioration with loss of central vision usually follows.  Some patients complain of dyschromatopsia and photophobia.  The ERG generally documents this progression but the mfERG shows wide variations in central cone functioning.  Legal blindness is common by the 5thdecade of life or later.  The course of clinical and ERG changes is more aggressive in the X-linked form than in the autosomal dominant RHO disease.  The final common denominator for all types is first rod and then cone photoreceptor loss through apoptosis.

As many as 50% of patients develop posterior subcapsular cataracts.  The vitreous often contains cells and particulate debris.   Retinal arterioles are often attenuated and the optic nerve may have a waxy pallor, especially late in the disease.  Occasional patients have cysts in the macula.  Some patients experience continuous photopsia.  

Systemic Features

The ‘simple’ or nonsyndromal type of RP described here has no systemic features.  However, the retinopathy is seen in a number of syndromes and, of course, in trauma and in some infectious diseases as well. 

Genetics

A significant proportion of RP cases occur sporadically, i.e., without a family history.  Mutations in more than 20 genes cause autosomal dominant RP disorders and these account for about one-third of all cases of retinitis pigmentosa but there are many more specific mutations.  More than 100 have been identified in the RHO gene (3q21-q24) alone, for example.  Mutations in some genes cause RP in both autosomal recessive and autosomal dominant inhritance patterns.  See OMIM 268000 for a complete listing of mutations.

Many genes associated with retinitis pigmentosa have also been implicated in other pigmentary retinopathies.  In addition numerous phenocopies occur, caused by a variety of drugs, trauma, infections and numerous neurological disorders.  To make diagnosis even more difficult, the fundus findings and ERG responses in nonsyndromic RP in most patients are too nonspecific to be useful for classification. Extensive systemic and ocular evaluations are important and should be combined with genotyping in both familial and nonfamilial cases to determine the diagnosis and prognosis. 

For autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa resulting from mutations in RP1, see Retinitis Pigmentosa 1 (180100). 

Treatment Options

Photoreceptor transplantation has been tried in 8 patients without improvement in central vision or interruption in the rate of vision loss.  Longer term results are needed.  Resensitizing photoreceptors with halorhodopsin using archaebacterial vectors shows promise in mice.  High doses of vitamin A palmitate slow the rate of vision loss but plasma levels and liver function need to be checked at least annually.  The use of oral and systemic carbonic anhydrase inhibitors can be helpful in reducing macular edema.

Low vision aids and mobility training can be facilitating for many patients.  Cataract surgery may restore several lines of vision at least temporarily.

Several pharmaceuticals should be avoided, including isotretinoin, sildenafil, and vitamin E. 

References

Jacobson SG, Cideciyan AV. Treatment possibilities for retinitis pigmentosa. N Engl J Med. 2010 Oct 21;363(17):1669-71.

PubMed ID: 
20961252

Busskamp V, Duebel J, Balya D, Fradot M, Viney TJ, Siegert S, Groner AC, Cabuy E, Forster V, Seeliger M, Biel M, Humphries P, Paques M, Mohand-Said S, Trono D, Deisseroth K, Sahel JA, Picaud S, Roska B. Genetic reactivation of cone photoreceptors restores visual responses in retinitis pigmentosa. Science. 2010 Jul 23;329(5990):413-7.

PubMed ID: 
20576849

Jan√°ky M, P√°lffy A, De√°k A, Szil√°gyi M, Benedek G. Multifocal ERG reveals several patterns of cone degeneration in retinitis pigmentosa with concentric narrowing of the visual field. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2007 Jan;48(1):383-9.

PubMed ID: 
17197558

Berger AS, Tezel TH, Del Priore LV, Kaplan HJ. Photoreceptor transplantation in retinitis pigmentosa: short-term follow-up. Ophthalmology. 2003 Feb;110(2):383-91.

PubMed ID: 
12578785

Retinitis Pigmentosa 3, X-Linked

Clinical Characteristics

Ocular Features

Retinitis pigmentosa is a large group of disorders with great clinical and genetic heterogeneity.  The ocular disease is characterized by night blindness, field constriction, and pigmentary changes in the retina.  The later may have a ‘bone corpuscle’ appearance with a perivascular distribution.  A ring scotoma is sometimes evident.  Age of onset and rate of progression is highly variable, even within families.  In this, an X-linked form of the disease, the first symptoms often appear early in the second decade of life.  The rods are impacted early but cone deterioration with loss of central vision usually follows.  Some patients complain of dyschromatopsia and photophobia.  The ERG generally documents this progression but the mfERG shows wide variations in central cone functioning.  Legal blindness is common by the 4thor 5thdecades of life.  The course of clinical and ERG changes is more aggressive in the X-linked form than in autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa disease resulting from RHO mutations.  The final common denominator for all types is first rod and then cone photoreceptor loss through apoptosis.

Up to 50% of adults develop cataracts beginning in the posterior subcapsular area.  The vitreous often contains cells and some patients have cystoid macular edema.  A waxy pallor of the optic nerve is sometimes present especially in the later stages of the disease.

Female carriers generally are asymptomatic but may also have severe RP.  Occasionally they have an unusual tapetal reflex consisting of a ‘beaten metal’ appearance or sometimes scintillating, golden patches. 

Systemic Features

There is no systemic disease in ‘simple’ or non-syndromic retinitis pigmentosa but pigmentary retinopathy is associated with a number of syndromes (syndromal RP) e.g.,  Usher syndromes, Waardenburg syndrome, Alport syndrome, Refsum disease, Kerns-Sayre syndrome, abetalipoproteinemia, neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis, mucopolysaccharidoses types I, II, III, and Bardet-Biedl syndromes

The RPGR gene is important to the normal function of cilia throughout the body.  For this reason disorders resulting from RPGR mutations such as CORDX1 (304020) and this one are sometimes classified as primary ciliary dyskinesias or ciliopathies.  The gene products of the RPGR gene, for example, are localized to connecting cilia of the outer segments of rods and cones and in motile cilia in the airway epithelia.  A subset of families with RP3 have chronic and recurrent upper respiratory infections including sinusitis, bronchitis, pulmonary atelectasis, and otitis media (300455) similar to that seen in the immotile cilia syndrome (244400).  Female carriers in these families have few retinal changes but may suffer recurrent and severe upper respiratory infections similar to hemizygous males.  Severe hearing loss also occurs in both sexes with the RPGR mutations and there is some evidence that this may be a primary sensorineural problem, perhaps in addition to conductive loss from recurrent otitis media.

Genetics

Mutations in more than 100 genes may be responsible for retinitis pigmentosa but sporadic disease occurs as well.  Between 5 and 10% of individuals have X-linked disease.  Perhaps 70% of X-linked RP is caused by mutations in RPGR (Xp11.4) as in this condition.  The same gene is mutant in one form of X-linked cone-rod dystrophy (CORDX1; 304020). These  disorders are sometimes considered examples of X-linked ocular disease resulting from a primary ciliary dyskinesia (244400).

Another form of X-linked RP (RP2) with more choroidal involvement is caused by mutations in the RP2 gene (312600 ; Xp11.23). 

Many genes associated with retinitis pigmentosa have also been implicated in other pigmentary retinopathies.  In addition numerous phenocopies occur, caused by a variety of drugs, trauma, infections and numerous neurological disorders.  To make diagnosis even more difficult, the fundus findings and ERG responses in nonsyndromic RP in most patients are too nonspecific to be useful for classification. Extensive systemic and ocular evaluations are important and should be combined with genotyping in both familial and nonfamilial cases to determine the diagnosis and prognosis. 

Treatment Options

Photoreceptor transplantation has been tried in 8 patients without improvement in central vision or interruption in the rate of vision loss.  Longer term results are needed.  Resensitizing photoreceptors with halorhodopsin using archaebacterial vectors shows promise in mice.  High doses of vitamin A palmitate slow the rate of vision loss but plasma levels and liver function need to be checked at least annually.  Oral acetazolamide can be helpful in reducing macular edema.

Low vision aids and mobility training can be facilitating for many patients.  Cataract surgery may restore several lines of vision at least temporarily.

Several pharmaceuticals should be avoided, including isotretinoin, sildenafil, and vitamin E. 

References

Jacobson SG, Cideciyan AV. Treatment possibilities for retinitis pigmentosa. N Engl J Med. 2010 Oct 21;363(17):1669-71.

PubMed ID: 
20961252

Busskamp V, Duebel J, Balya D, Fradot M, Viney TJ, Siegert S, Groner AC, Cabuy E, Forster V, Seeliger M, Biel M, Humphries P, Paques M, Mohand-Said S, Trono D, Deisseroth K, Sahel JA, Picaud S, Roska B. Genetic reactivation of cone photoreceptors restores visual responses in retinitis pigmentosa. Science. 2010 Jul 23;329(5990):413-7.

PubMed ID: 
20576849

Sandberg MA, Rosner B, Weigel-DiFranco C, Dryja TP, Berson EL. Disease course of patients with X-linked retinitis pigmentosa due to RPGR gene mutations. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2007 Mar;48(3):1298-304.

PubMed ID: 
17325176

Jan√°ky M, P√°lffy A, De√°k A, Szil√°gyi M, Benedek G. Multifocal ERG reveals several patterns of cone degeneration in retinitis pigmentosa with concentric narrowing of the visual field. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2007 Jan;48(1):383-9.

PubMed ID: 
17197558

Berger AS, Tezel TH, Del Priore LV, Kaplan HJ. Photoreceptor transplantation in retinitis pigmentosa: short-term follow-up. Ophthalmology. 2003 Feb;110(2):383-91.

PubMed ID: 
12578785

Zito I, Downes SM, Patel RJ, Cheetham ME, Ebenezer ND, Jenkins SA, Bhattacharya SS, Webster AR, Holder GE, Bird AC, Bamiou DE, Hardcastle AJ. RPGR mutation associated with retinitis pigmentosa, impaired hearing, and sinorespiratory infections. J Med Genet. 2003 Aug;40(8):609-15.

PubMed ID: 
12920075

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.   

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

Jalkanen R, Mäntyjärvi M, Tobias R, Isosomppi J, Sankila EM, Alitalo T, Bech-Hansen NT. X linked cone-rod dystrophy, CORDX3, is caused by a mutation in the CACNA1F gene. J Med Genet. 2006 Aug;43(8):699-704.

PubMed ID: 
16505158

Yang Z, Peachey NS, Moshfeghi DM, Thirumalaichary S, Chorich L, Shugart YY, Fan K, Zhang K. Mutations in the RPGR gene cause X-linked cone dystrophy. Hum Mol Genet. 2002 Mar 1;11(5):605-11.

PubMed ID: 
11875055

Bergen AA, Pinckers AJ. Localization of a novel X-linked progressive cone dystrophy gene to Xq27: evidence for genetic heterogeneity. Am J Hum Genet. 1997 Jun;60(6):1468-73. Erratum in: Am J Hum Genet 1997 Aug;61(2):471.

PubMed ID: 
9199568

Hong HK, Ferrell RE, Gorin MB. Clinical diversity and chromosomal localization of X-linked cone dystrophy (COD1). Am J Hum Genet. 1994 Dec;55(6):1173-81.

PubMed ID: 
7977377