Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a disease characterized by retinal neovascularization, possibly leading to retinal detachment and finally blindness. In a proportion of ROP cases, the disease progresses to advanced stages despite rigorous intervention. Missense mutations of the Norrie disease (ND) gene have been associated with progression of the disease in ROP cases from the USA. We have investigated the presence of ND gene mutations in 102 premature newborns of Kuwaiti Arab origin to replicate this finding in a different population/racial group. 56 (55%) of these newborns had normal eyes and served as controls. In 35 (34%) cases, the ROP regressed spontaneously during stage 1-3. In 11 (11%) cases, ROP progressed to advanced stages. A PCR-RFLP method was used to detect the mutations in exon 3 of the ND gene and confirmed the DNA sequence by direct sequencing of the PCR product. The [R121W] mutation of the ND gene was not detected in the premature newborns screened from our Kuwaiti population/group. For the second mutation [L108P], a genotype (PP) was present in 98% of the premature newborns screened and only in 1 of 56 normal infants was the (LL) genotype detected. Our population is genetically homogenous in that genotype (PP) was detected at codon 108 in almost all controls and ROP cases. We did not find an association between the presence or absence of missense mutations of the ND gene and the risk of severe ROP.
Copyright 2000 S. Karger AG, Basel