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CRB1 heterozygotes with regional retinal dysfunction: implications for genetic testing of leber congenital amaurosis.

Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2006, vol. 47, issue 9

PURPOSE

To test human CRB1 heterozygotes for possible clinical or functional retinal changes and to evaluate whether a patient with Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) with CRB1 mutations not consistent with previously described CRB1 phenotypes carried a modifier allele in another LCA gene.

METHODS

Seven unrelated heterozygous carriers of CRB1 mutations underwent phenotyping by full eye examinations (indirect ophthalmoscopy and slit lamp biomicroscopy) and functional testing (standard full-field electroretinography [ERG] and multifocal ERG). For genotyping of the LCA patients and their parents, denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography (dHPLC) analyses were performed, followed by sequence analysis of CRB1, followed by sequence analysis of the AIPL1 and CRX genes to identify a putative modifier effect in a patient with an atypical CRB1 phenotype.

RESULTS

Reduced full-field ERG b-wave amplitudes were observed with scotopic -2 dB flash (140 microV; P

CONCLUSIONS

In human heterozygotes of CRB1 mutations (parents of offspring with LCA), distinctive regional retinal dysfunctions were found by multifocal ERG measurements that were consistent with the focal histologic abnormalities reported for the two CRB1 knockout mice models. This phenotypic finding may identify CRB1 carriers and point to the causal gene defect in affected LCA offspring, significantly facilitating the molecular diagnostic process. Evidence suggests a modifier allele in AIPL1 in a patient with LCA with prominent atrophic macular lesions and homozygous defects in CRB1.

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