Description of a patient cohort with Hereditary Sensory Neuropathy type 1 without retinal disease Macular Telangiectasia type 2 - implications for retinal screening in HSN1

J Peripher Nerv Syst. 2022 Jul 15. doi: 10.1111/jns.12508. Online ahead of print.


Pathogenic variants in the genes encoding serine palmitoyl transferase (SPTLC1 or SPTLC2) are the most common causes of the rare peripheral nerve disorder Hereditary Sensory Neuropathy Type 1 (HSN1). Macular telangiectasia type 2 (MacTel), a retinal disorder associated with disordered serine-glycine metabolism, has been described in some patients with HSN1. This study aims to further investigate this association in a cohort of people with HSN1. Fourteen patients with a clinically and genetically confirmed diagnosis of HSN1 from the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom) were recruited to the MacTel Registry, between July 2018 and April 2019. Two additional patients were identified from the dataset of the international clinical registry study ( Ocular examination included fundus autofluorescence, blue light and infrared reflectance, macular pigment optical density mapping and optical coherence tomography. Twelve patients had a pathogenic variant in the SPTLC1 gene, with p.Cys133Trp in 11 cases (92%) and p.Cys133Tyr in one case (8%). Four patients had a variant in the SPTLC2 gene. None of the patients showed clinical evidence of MacTel. The link between HSN1 and MacTel seems more complex than can solely be explained by the genetic variants. An extension of the spectrum of SPTLC1/2-related disease with phenotypic pleiotropy is proposed. HSN1 patients should be screened for visual symptoms and referred for specialist retinal screening, but the association of the two diseases is likely to be variable and remains unexplained.

Keywords: HSAN 1; SPTLC1 protein; SPTLC2 protein; hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathies; macular telangiectasia type 2.

Publication types

  • Case Reports