A sialidosis type I cohort and a quantitative approach to multimodal ophthalmic imaging of the macular cherry-red spot

Br J Ophthalmol. 2021 Jun;105(6):838-843. doi: 10.1136/bjophthalmol-2020-316826. Epub 2020 Aug 4.


Aim: To describe the ophthalmologic findings on the largest cohort of patients with sialidosis type I due to deficiency of the lysosomal sialidase, neuraminidase 1 (NEU1) and to introduce a quantitative neuroretinal image analysis approach to the associated 'macular cherry-red spot'.

Methods: Seven patients with sialidosis type I (mutations in NEU1) and one with galactosialidosis (mutations in CTSA) were included. All patients underwent detailed ophthalmological examinations. The reflectivity of macular optical coherence tomography (OCT) was measured using greyscale analysis (Fiji) and compared with age-matched healthy volunteers. Four patients were evaluated over a time of 1.5+0.5 years.

Results: The mean age of the patients at their first visit was 27.5+9.8 years. All patients had a macular cherry-red spot, clear corneas and visually non-significant lenticular opacities. The mean visual acuity was LogMar 0.4 (20/50)+0.4 (20/20 to 20/125). Six patients had good visual function. Optic atrophy was present in two individuals with reduced acuity. A significant increase in macular reflectivity was present in all patients compared to age-matched controls (p<0.0001).

Conclusion: Most of our patients (75%) have preserved visual acuity, even in adulthood. The presence of optic atrophy is associated with poor visual acuity. Increased macular reflectivity by OCT greyscale measurements is noted in all patients, although the underlying biological basis is unknown. These findings complement the current methods for examining and monitoring disease progression, especially in patients for whom visualisation of the cherry-red spot is not entirely clear.

Trial registration number: NCT00029965.

Keywords: Diagnostic tests/Investigation; Genetics; Imaging; Macula; Retina.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Female
  • Fluorescein Angiography / methods*
  • Fundus Oculi
  • Humans
  • Macula Lutea / pathology*
  • Male
  • Mucolipidoses / complications
  • Mucolipidoses / diagnosis*
  • Multimodal Imaging*
  • Retinal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Retinal Diseases / etiology
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / methods*
  • Visual Acuity*
  • Young Adult

Supplementary concepts

  • Neuraminidase 1 deficiency

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00029965