Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA, MIM 204001) is a clinically and genetically heterogeneous retinal disorder characterized by severe visual loss from birth, nystagmus, poor pupillary reflexes, retinal pigmentary or atrophic changes, and a markedly diminished electroretinogram (ERG).
Purpose: To examine 100 consecutive patients with LCA in order to assess the relative burden of the three known genes involved in LCA, namely retinal guanylyl cyclase (GUCY2D), retinal pigment epithelium protein ( RPE65), and the cone-rod homeobox (CRX), and to define their clinical correlates.
Methods: Mutational analysis and detailed clinical examinations were performed in patients diagnosed with LCA at the Johns Hopkins Center for Hereditary Eye Diseases and the Montreal Children's Hospital.
Results: Mutations were identified in 11% of our patients: GUCY2D mutations accounted for 6%, while RPE65 and CRX gene mutations accounted for 3% and 2%, respectively. The clinical presentation was variable; however, the visual evolution in patients with mutations in GUCY2D and CRX remained stable, while individuals with mutations in the RPE65 gene showed progressive visual loss.
Conclusions: This study suggests that molecular diagnosis of Leber congenital amaurosis could provide important information concerning prognosis and course of treatment.