Ocular Phenotype Associated with DYRK1A Variants

Genes (Basel). 2021 Feb 5;12(2):234. doi: 10.3390/genes12020234.


Dual-specificity tyrosine phosphorylation-regulated kinase 1A or DYRK1A, contributes to central nervous system development in a dose-sensitive manner. Triallelic DYRK1A is implicated in the neuropathology of Down syndrome, whereas haploinsufficiency causes the rare DYRK1A-related intellectual disability syndrome (also known as mental retardation 7). It is characterised by intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder and microcephaly with a typical facial gestalt. Preclinical studies elucidate a role for DYRK1A in eye development and case studies have reported associated ocular pathology. In this study families of the DYRK1A Syndrome International Association were asked to self-report any co-existing ocular abnormalities. Twenty-six patients responded but only 14 had molecular confirmation of a DYRK1A pathogenic variant. A further nineteen patients from the UK Genomics England 100,000 Genomes Project were identified and combined with 112 patients reported in the literature for further analysis. Ninety out of 145 patients (62.1%) with heterozygous DYRK1A variants revealed ocular features, these ranged from optic nerve hypoplasia (13%, 12/90), refractive error (35.6%, 32/90) and strabismus (21.1%, 19/90). Patients with DYRK1A variants should be referred to ophthalmology as part of their management care pathway to prevent amblyopia in children and reduce visual comorbidity, which may further impact on learning, behaviour, and quality of life.

Keywords: DYRK1A; DYRK1A-related intellectual disability syndrome; mental retardation 7; ocular phenotype; optic nerve hypoplasia; strabismus and refractive error.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Central Nervous System / abnormalities*
  • Central Nervous System / growth & development
  • Central Nervous System / metabolism
  • Central Nervous System / pathology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Down Syndrome / genetics
  • Down Syndrome / pathology
  • Dyrk Kinases
  • Eye / pathology
  • Eye Abnormalities / genetics
  • Eye Abnormalities / pathology
  • Female
  • Haploinsufficiency / genetics
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intellectual Disability / genetics*
  • Intellectual Disability / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Optic Nerve / abnormalities*
  • Optic Nerve / pathology
  • Optic Nerve Diseases / genetics*
  • Optic Nerve Diseases / pathology
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics*
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / genetics*
  • Refractive Errors / genetics
  • Refractive Errors / pathology
  • Strabismus / genetics
  • Strabismus / pathology


  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases

Supplementary concepts

  • Optic Nerve Hypoplasia and Abnormalities of the Central Nervous System