Achromatopsia is an autosomal recessive inherited retinal disease caused by a complete loss of cone photoreceptor function. About 80 % of achromatopsia patients show mutations in the alpha or beta subunit (A3 and B3) of the cGMP controlled cation channel CNG (cyclic nucleotide-gated channel) of cone photoreceptors. Homologous to the human disease, CNGA3 deficient mice reveal a loss of cone specific functionality leading to degeneration of affected cone photoreceptors. The Institute for Ophthalmic Research in Tübingen has now succeeded in curing achromatopsia ACHM2 in an animal model. In this article, we explain the recombinant adeno-associated virus-based approach in detail. Furthermore, applied non-invasive diagnostic techniques for quality and success control, ERG, SLO and OCT, are described. The success of the therapy is indicated by a restored cone photoreceptor function as well as the neuronal processing of retinal signals resulting in a specific, cone-mediated behaviour. The outstanding results derived from the animal model are the starting point for the first human translation of a gene therapy for achromatopsia in Germany.
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.