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Jpn J Ophthalmol. 2001 Nov-Dec;45(6):672-6.

Clinicopathological report of retinitis pigmentosa with vitamin E deficiency caused by mutation of the alpha-tocopherol transfer protein gene.

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Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Graduate School, Tokyo, Japan.



To discuss the clinicopathological findings in a patient with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) accompanied by a vitamin E deficiency caused by an H101Q mutation in the alpha-tocopherol transfer protein (alpha-TTP) gene.


The clinical course of this patient was followed by conventional ophthalmological examinations over a 3-year period. After the patient died from pancreatic cancer, the eyes were obtained, and examined by light and electron microscopy.


The patient complained of night blindness subsequent to adult-onset ataxia, although the ataxia was very mild. His visual acuity was 0.6 OU, and ophthalmoscopy revealed RP sine pigmento. Ring scotomas were detected, and the electroretinography, electro-oculography, and dark-adaptation were altered. Fluorescein angiography showed granular hyperfluorescence around the macula. No progression of the visual and neurological symptoms was observed during the 10 years he was taking oral vitamin E. Histopathological examination revealed the loss of the outer and inner segments of the photoreceptors in the area corresponding to the ring scotoma, as well as a disorganization and shortening of the outer segments in the peripheral retina.


We conclude that the clinical and pathological findings in the eyes of this patient having RP with vitamin E deficiency caused by an H101Q mutation are similar to those of common autosomal recessive RP. However, special attention is required in making a diagnosis of RP with vitamin E deficiency because RP with vitamin E deficiency is medically treatable. The mild Friedreich-type ataxia accompanying the RP may be helpful in identifying this disease.

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