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Eur J Ophthalmol. 2006 Jan-Feb;16(1):153-60.

Hereditary hyperferritinemia cataract syndrome: ocular, genetic, and biochemical findings.

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  • 1Southampton Eye Unit, UK.



To describe the cataract morphology and genetic and biochemical findings in a four-generation family with hereditary hyperferritinemia cataract syndrome (HHCS).


Family members of the proband with HHCS were investigated. DNA sequencing was carried out to identify the iron responsive element (IRE) of the L-ferritin gene in affected and non-affected family members. Molecular modeling allowed prediction of the structure of the mutant IRE in affected cases. Serum ferritin and transferrin saturation were determined using standard methods. All family members underwent slit lamp examination by an ophthalmologist to document presence of cataract or lens status. Cataract morphology was documented where present.


This family with HHCS had the genetic heterozygous mutation G32C in the IRE of the L-ferritin mRNA. Lens opacities were detectable in young members of the family, and morphology of cataracts was consistent with previous reports. Biochemical testing demonstrated high serum ferritin levels in affected individuals.


The morphology of cataracts in HHCS seems to be similar in all cases. In the heterozygous G32C mutation, the age at onset of cataracts is very early. Greater awareness of this condition among ophthalmologists will lead to effective family counseling of those affected, by genetic testing or simple biochemical tests. Serum ferritin levels can be effectively used to screen for this condition in suspected families.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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