Autosomal dominant optic atrophy and cataract "plus" phenotype including axonal neuropathy

Neurol Genet. 2019 Apr 1;5(2):e322. doi: 10.1212/NXG.0000000000000322. eCollection 2019 Apr.


Objective: To characterize the phenotype in individuals with OPA3-related autosomal dominant optic atrophy and cataract (ADOAC) and peripheral neuropathy (PN).

Methods: Two probands with multiple affected relatives and one sporadic case were referred for evaluation of a PN. Their phenotype was determined by clinical ± neurophysiological assessment. Neuropathologic examination of sural nerve and skeletal muscle, and ultrastructural analysis of mitochondria in fibroblasts were performed in one case. Exome sequencing was performed in the probands.

Results: The main clinical features in one family (n = 7 affected individuals) and one sporadic case were early-onset cataracts (n = 7), symptoms of gastrointestinal dysmotility (n = 8), and possible/confirmed PN (n = 7). Impaired vision was an early-onset feature in another family (n = 4 affected individuals), in which 3 members had symptoms of gastrointestinal dysmotility and 2 developed PN and cataracts. The less common features among all individuals included symptoms/signs of autonomic dysfunction (n = 3), hearing loss (n = 3), and recurrent pancreatitis (n = 1). In 5 individuals, the neuropathy was axonal and clinically asymptomatic (n = 1), sensory-predominant (n = 2), or motor and sensory (n = 2). In one patient, nerve biopsy revealed a loss of large and small myelinated fibers. In fibroblasts, mitochondria were frequently enlarged with slightly fragmented cristae. The exome sequencing identified OPA3 variants in all probands: a novel variant (c.23T>C) and the known mutation (c.313C>G) in OPA3.

Conclusions: A syndromic form of ADOAC (ADOAC+), in which axonal neuropathy may be a major feature, is described. OPA3 mutations should be included in the differential diagnosis of complex inherited PN, even in the absence of clinically apparent optic atrophy.