Mutations in the ABCA4(ABCR) gene cause autosomal recessive Stargardt disease (STGD). ABCR mutations were identified in patients with cone-rod dystrophy (CRD) and retinitis pigmentosa (RP) by direct sequencing of all 50 exons in 40 patients. Of 10 patients with RP, one contained two ABCR mutations suggesting a compound heterozygote. This patient had a characteristic fundus appearance with attenuated vessels, pale disks and bone-spicule pigmentation. Rod electroretinograms (ERGs) were non-detectable, cone ERGs were greatly reduced in amplitude and delayed in implicit time, and visual fields were constricted to 10 degrees diameter. Eleven of 30 (37%) patients with CRD had mutations in ABCR. In general, these patients showed reduced but detectable rod ERG responses, reduced and delayed cone responses, and poor visual acuity. Rod photoresponses to high intensity flashes were of reduced maximum amplitude but showed normal values for the gain of phototransduction. Most CRD patients with mutations in ABCR showed delayed recovery of sensitivity (dark adaptation) following exposure to bright light. Pupils were also significantly smaller in these patients compared to controls at 30 min following light exposure, consistent with a persistent 'equivalent light' background due to the accumulation of a tentatively identified 'noisy' photoproduct.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.