Congenital hereditary endothelial dystrophy with progressive sensorineural deafness (Harboyan syndrome)

Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2008 Oct 15:3:28. doi: 10.1186/1750-1172-3-28.


Harboyan syndrome is a degenerative corneal disorder defined as congenital hereditary endothelial dystrophy (CHED) accompanied by progressive, postlingual sensorineural hearing loss. To date, 24 cases from 11 families of various origin (Asian Indian, South American Indian, Sephardi Jewish, Brazilian Portuguese, Dutch, Gypsy, Moroccan, Dominican) have been reported. More than 50% of the reported cases have been associated with parental consanguinity. The ocular manifestations in Harboyan syndrome include diffuse bilateral corneal edema occurring with severe corneal clouding, blurred vision, visual loss and nystagmus. They are apparent at birth or within the neonatal period and are indistinguishable from those characteristic of the autosomal recessive CHED (CHED2). Hearing deficit in Harboyan is slowly progressive and typically found in patients 10-25 years old. There are no reported cases with prelinglual deafness, however, a significant hearing loss in children as young as 4 years old has been detected by audiometry, suggesting that hearing may be affected earlier, even at birth. Harboyan syndrome is caused by mutations in the SLC4A11 gene located at the CHED2 locus on chromosome 20p13-p12, indicating that CHED2 and Harboyan syndrome are allelic disorders. A total of 62 different SLC4A11 mutations have been reported in 98 families (92 CHED2 and 6 Harboyan). All reported cases have been consistent with autosomal recessive transmission. Diagnosis is based on clinical criteria, detailed ophthalmological assessment and audiometry. A molecular confirmation of the clinical diagnosis is feasible. A variety of genetic, metabolic, developmental and acquired diseases presenting with clouding of the cornea should be considered in the differential diagnosis (Peters anomaly, sclerocornea, limbal dermoids, congenital glaucoma). Audiometry must be performed to differentiate Harboyan syndrome from CHED2. Autosomal recessive types of CHED (CHED2 and Harboyan syndrome) should carefully be distinguished from the less severe autosomal dominant type CHED1. The ocular abnormalities in patients with Harboyan syndrome may be treated with topical hyperosmolar solutions. However, corneal transplantation (penetrating keratoplasty) represents definitive treatment. Corneal transplantation produces a substantial visual gain and has a relatively good surgical prognosis. Audiometric monitoring should be offered to all patients with CHED2. Hearing aids may be necessary in adolescence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Audiometry
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Corneal Dystrophies, Hereditary* / diagnosis
  • Corneal Dystrophies, Hereditary* / genetics
  • Corneal Dystrophies, Hereditary* / physiopathology
  • Corneal Dystrophies, Hereditary* / surgery
  • Corneal Transplantation
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural* / diagnosis
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural* / genetics
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural* / physiopathology
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Young Adult