Impact of Next Generation Sequencing in Unraveling the Genetics of 1036 Spanish Families With Inherited Macular Dystrophies

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2022 Feb 1;63(2):11. doi: 10.1167/iovs.63.2.11.


Purpose: To assess the potential of next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies to characterize cases diagnosed with autosomal recessive (ar) or sporadic (s) macular dystrophies (ar/sMD) and describe their mutational spectrum.

Methods: A cohort of 1036 families was classified according to their suspected clinical diagnosis-Stargardt disease (STGD), cone and cone-rod dystrophy (CCRD) or other maculopathies (otherMD). Molecular studies included genotyping microarrays, Sanger sequencing, NGS, and sequencing of intronic regions of the ABCA4 gene. Clinical reclassification was done after the genetic study.

Results: At the end of the study, 677 patients (65%) had a confirmed genetic diagnosis, representing 78%, 63%, and 38% of STGD, CCRD, and otherMD groups of patients, respectively. ABCA4 is the most mutated gene in all groups, and a second pathogenic variant was found in 76% of STGD patients with one previously identified mutated ABCA4 allele. Autosomal dominant or X-linked mutations were found in 5% of cases together with not-MD genes (CHM, EYS, RHO, RPGR, RLBP1, OPA1, and USH2A among others) leading to their reclassification. Novel variants in the very rare genes PLA2G5 and TTLL5 revealed additional phenotypic associations.

Conclusions: This study provides for the first time a genetic landscape of 1036 ar/sMD families according to their suspected diagnosis. The analysis of >200 genes associated with retinal dystrophies and the entire locus of ABCA4 increase the rate of characterization, even regardless of available clinical and familiar data. The use of the suspected a priori diagnosis referred by the clinicians, especially in the past, could lead to clinical reclassifications to other inherited retinal dystrophies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / genetics*
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / metabolism
  • Adult
  • Alleles
  • Cone-Rod Dystrophies / epidemiology
  • Cone-Rod Dystrophies / genetics*
  • DNA / genetics*
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Female
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Morbidity / trends
  • Mutation*
  • Pedigree
  • Phenotype
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rod Cell Outer Segment
  • Spain / epidemiology


  • ABCA4 protein, human
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters
  • DNA