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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2011 May 9;52(6):3032-8. doi: 10.1167/iovs.10-7025.

Screening of SPATA7 in patients with Leber congenital amaurosis and severe childhood-onset retinal dystrophy reveals disease-causing mutations.

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Department of Genetics, Institute of Ophthalmology, London, United Kingdom.



To investigate the prevalence of sequence variants in the gene SPATA7 in patients with Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) and autosomal recessive, severe, early-onset retinal dystrophy (EORD) and to delineate the ocular phenotype associated with SPATA7 mutations.


Patients underwent standard ophthalmic evaluation after providing informed consent. One hundred forty-one DNA samples from patients with LCA and EORD had been analyzed for mutations by using a microarray, with negative results. One additional patient underwent SPATA7 screening due to a region of autozygosity surrounding this gene. A further patient was screened who had a compatible ocular phenotype. The entire SPATA7 coding sequence was assayed, including the intron-exon junctions, by using a combination of direct DNA sequencing and high-resolution melting screening.


Screening of SPATA7 identified several known and novel single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Affected individuals from five unrelated families were identified to have coding changes. Clinical features demonstrated a severe infantile onset retinal dystrophy, similar to Leber congenital amaurosis. The retina had widespread retinal pigment epithelial atrophy, with minimal pigment migration into the neurosensory retina. Fundus autofluorescence imaging showed a parafoveal annulus of increased autofluorescence. High-definition optical coherence tomography showed preservation of the inner segment/outer segment junction at the fovea.


Mutations in SPATA7 are a rare cause of childhood retinal dystrophy accounting for 1.7% of disease in this cohort. Affected patients present in infancy with severe visual loss, but may have some preservation of the photoreceptor structure in the central retina.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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