Morphological and functional findings in Alström syndrome: a study of two families

Arq Bras Oftalmol. 2018 Nov./Dec.;81(6):524-528. doi: 10.5935/0004-2749.20180102. Epub 2018 Oct 11.


Alström syndrome is a rare disorder characterized by mutations to the ALMS1 gene and clinical findings of childhood obesity, diabetes mellitus, dilated cardiomyopathy, sensorineural hearing loss, and progressive cone-rod dystrophy, which may result in blindness. Ocular manifestations occur in the first decade of life with nystagmus, blepharospasm, and photophobia leading to progressive and severe reductions in visual acuity. This study describes the retinal structure and functional aspects of four patients (8 eyes) from two different families as determined by optical coherence tomography (OCT), fundus autofluorescence, and full-field electroretinography. There was a correlation between morphological and functional findings, evidenced by typical funduscopic changes of retinal dystrophy in spectral domain-OCT and electrophysiological analyses. Foveal characteristics include a single layer of undifferentiated photoreceptors with retinal disorganization mainly from external segments, in agreement with previous reports in the literature. Fundus autofluorescence showed areas of hyperautofluorescence interspersed by hypoautofluorescence dots suggesting, respectively, involvement and atrophy of retinal pigmented epithelial cells in the macular zone. Electroretinographic analyses showed early dysfunction of the cones followed by rapid rod deterioration.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Letter

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alstrom Syndrome / diagnostic imaging*
  • Alstrom Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Cone Dystrophy / diagnostic imaging
  • Electroretinography
  • Family Health
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Optical Imaging
  • Retinal Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Retinal Diseases / physiopathology
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence
  • Visual Acuity