Multimodal imaging features and genetic findings in Bietti crystalline dystrophy

BMC Ophthalmol. 2020 Aug 15;20(1):331. doi: 10.1186/s12886-020-01545-3.


Background: Bietti crystalline dystrophy (BCD) is a distinct entity of retinitis pigmentosa with a wide range of genotypic and phenotypic variabilities. The goal of the present study was to investigate the morphological, functional and genetic features of BCD.

Methods: A full series of multimodal imaging was performed in four Chinese patients with BCD, including fundus photography, fundus autofluorescence, fundus fluorescein angiography (FFA), indocyanine green (ICG) angiography, optical coherence tomography (OCT) and microperimetry. Electrophysiological tests including full-field electroretinography (ERG) and multifocal ERG were employed. CYP4V2 gene sequencing was performed.

Results: Intraretinal crystalline deposits were observed in fundus photographs in all patients. The crystals were better appreciated in infrared images. Autofluorescence imaging demonstrated multifocal patchy hypofluorescence, suggesting massive RPE atrophy. FFA and ICG angiography further confirmed atrophy of the RPE and the underlying choroidal vessels. OCT revealed disruption of the photoreceptors, RPE and the choroid. Outer retinal tubulations (ORTs) confining to the outer nuclear layer were detected in three out of four patients. Full-field ERG showed markedly diminished responses. Multifocal ERG displayed reduced central and peripheral responses in a patient with normal vision. Gene sequencing identified two deletion mutations in CYP4V2, c.802_807del and c.810delT. BCD complicated by choroidal neovascularization (CNV) was diagnosed in one patient, and intravitreal anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) injection was given with favorable response.

Conclusions: Multimodal imaging features and electrophysiological findings of BCD patients were comprehensively discussed. A novel deletion mutation, c.802_807del, in the CYP4V2 gene was reported. ORTs are important changes in the outer retina of BCD patients, further investigation of this structure may provide insights into pathology of BCD. Intravitreal anti-VEGF therapy was effective for treatment of BCD complicated by CNV.

Keywords: Bietti crystalline dystrophy; CYP4V2 gene; Choroidal neovascularization; Multimodal imaging.

MeSH terms

  • Corneal Dystrophies, Hereditary* / diagnosis
  • Corneal Dystrophies, Hereditary* / genetics
  • Cytochrome P450 Family 4 / genetics
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Humans
  • Multimodal Imaging
  • Mutation
  • Retinal Diseases
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence


  • Cytochrome P450 Family 4

Supplementary concepts

  • Bietti Crystalline Dystrophy