Background: Mutations in the RPGR gene predominantly cause rod photoreceptor disorders with a large variability in clinical course. In this report, we describe two families with mutations in this gene and cone involvement.
Methods: We investigated an X-linked cone dystrophy family (1) with 25 affected males, 25 female carriers, and 21 non-carriers, as well as a small family (2) with one affected and one unaffected male. The RPGR gene was analyzed by direct sequencing. All medical records were evaluated, and all available data on visual acuity, color vision testing, ophthalmoscopy, fundus photography, fundus autofluorescence, Goldmann perimetry, SD-OCT, dark adaptation, and full-field electroretinography (ERG) were registered. Cumulative risks of visual loss were studied with Kaplan-Meier product-limit survival analysis.
Results: Both families had a frameshift mutation in ORF15 of the RPGR gene; family 1 had p.Ser1107ValfsX4, and family 2 had p.His1100GlnfsX10. Mean follow up was 13 years (SD 10). Virtually all affected males showed reduced photopic and normal scotopic responses on ERG. Fifty percent of the patients had a visual acuity of <0.5 at age 35 years (SE 2.2), and 75% of the patients was legally blind at age 60 years (SE 2.3). Female carriers showed no signs of ocular involvement.
Conclusions: This report describes the clinical course and visual prognosis in two families with cone dystrophy due to RPGR mutations in the 3' terminal region of ORF15. Remarkable features were the consistent, late-onset phenotype, the severe visual outcome, and the non-expression in female carriers. Expression of RPGR mutations in this particular region appears to be relatively homogeneous and predisposed to cones.