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Retinal Phenotype of Patients with CLRN1-Associated Usher 3A Syndrome in French Light4Deaf Cohort

Vasily Smirnov, Marco Nassisi, Saddek Mohand-Said, Crystel Bonnet, Anne Aubois, Céline Devisme, Thilissa Dib, Christina Zeitz, Natalie Loundon, Sandrine Marlin, Christine Petit, Bahram Bodaghi, José-Alain Sahel, Isabelle Audo|April 2022 | Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science | 63(4) | 25 | doi: 10.1167/iovs.63.4.25


Purpose: Biallelic variants in CLRN1 are responsible for Usher syndrome 3A and non-syndromic rod–cone dystrophy (RCD). Retinal findings in Usher syndrome 3A have not been well defined. We report the detailed phenotypic description of RCD associated with CLRN1 variants in a prospective cohort.

Methods: Patients were clinically investigated at the National Reference Center for rare ocular diseases at the Quinze-Vingts Hospital, Paris, France. Best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) tests, Goldmann perimetry, full-field electroretinography (ffERG), retinal photography, near-infrared reflectance, short-wavelength and near-infrared autofluorescence, and optical coherence tomography (OCT) were performed for all patients.

Results: Four patients from four unrelated families were recruited. Mean follow-up was 11 years for three patients, and only baseline data were available for one subject. Median BCVA at baseline was 0.2 logMAR (range, 0.3–0). ffERG responses were undetectable in all subjects. The III4e isopter of the Goldmann visual field was constricted to 10°. The retinal phenotype was consistent in all patients: small whitish granular atrophic areas were organized in a network pattern around the macula and in the midperiphery. OCT showed intraretinal microcysts in all patients. Upon follow-up, all patients experienced a progressive BCVA loss and further visual field constriction. Four distinct pathogenic variants were identified in our patients: two missense (c.144T>G, p.(Asn48Lys) and c.368C>A, p.(Ala123Asp)) and two frameshift variants (c.176del, p.(Gly59Valfs*13) and c.230dup, p.(Ala78Serfs*52)).

Conclusions: RCD in Usher 3A syndrome has some distinctive features. It is a severe photoreceptor dystrophy with whitish granular posterior pole appearance and cystic maculopathy.


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