Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) is the most severe form of retinopathy and cone/cone-rod dystrophy (CORD) is a common form of inherited retinopathy. Variants in GUCY2D constitute the most common cause of LCA and autosomal dominant CORD (ADCORD). The purpose of this study was to reveal novel variants and document associated phenotypes of patients with GUCY2D-associated retinopathy. Fifty-two potentially pathogenic variants (PPVs), including 12 novel ones (p.Gly144_Ala164del, p.Trp154Glyfs*12, p.Leu186Pro, p.Ala207Pro, p.Ala229Asp, p.Ala353Glu, p.Trp372*, p.Arg528*, p.Arg660Pro, p.Ile682Thr, p.Trp788Cys, and c.1026 + 171_*486del), were identified in 16 families with ADCORD and 34 families with autosomal recessive LCA (ARLCA). The novel variant c.1026 + 171_*486del is a large-scale (16.3 kb) deletion involving exons 4-20 of GUCY2D, and was identified in an ARLCA family in heterozygous status mimicking a homozygous p.Trp788Cys variant. Among the detected 52 PPVs, 32 (61.5%) were missense, seven (13.5%) were splicing, six (11.5%) were nonsense, four (7.7%) were inframe indel, and three (5.8%) were frameshift deletion. The median age of examination in 27 patients with ADCORD was 21.0 years (ranges 3-54) with a median visual acuity (VA) of 0.10 (ranges 0.02-0.90). There were 48.0% of patients with macular atrophy, 86.4% with severe reduced or extinguished cone responses, 77.3% with normal or mildly reduced rod responses, and 60.9% with high myopia. Visual impairment, macular dystrophy, and cone dysfunction deteriorated with age. The median age of examination in 34 patients with ARLCA was 1.1 years (ranges 0.3-25). There were 55.9% of patients with roving nystagmus, 68.2% with VA of worse than hand motion, 59.4% with almost normal fundus, 90.6% with extinguished rod and cone responses, and 50.0% with high hyperopia. In conclusions, twelve novel PPVs in GUCY2D (including a novel large-scale deletion) were identified. Most (32/52, 61.5%) of causative GUCY2D variants were missense. Progressive development of macular atrophy, cone dysfunction, visual impairment, and myopia are four major characteristics of GUCY2D-associated ADCORD. Normal fundus, roving nystagmus, and hypermetropia in early age are common findings specific to GUCY2D-associated ARLCA. The obtained data in this study will be of value in counselling patients and designing future therapeutic approaches.
Keywords: Clinical characteristics; Cone/cone-rod dystrophy; GUCY2D; Genetic characteristics; Leber congenital amaurosis.
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