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Mol Vis. 2011;17:1231-8. Epub 2011 May 6.

Asymmetric phenotype of Axenfeld-Rieger anomaly and aniridia associated with a novel PITX2 mutation.

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Jules Stein Eye Institute, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.



To evaluate the asymmetry of the anterior segment phenotype between the two eyes of a patient with Axenfeld-Rieger syndrome (ARS).


The entire database of a tertiary glaucoma practice was screened for patients with ARS. The medical records of patients with ARS were reviewed. The clinical characteristics of ocular examination of the two eyes of each patient were recorded and compared. Dental and medical information were also reviewed where available. The anterior segment phenotype was tabulated to assess asymmetry. Asymmetric anterior segment characteristics of patients with ARS were compared with reported cases in the literature.


Eight patients with ARS were identified from screening of more than 5,000 patients of a tertiary glaucoma practice. All patients had Axenfeld-Rieger anomaly in both eyes except one patient presented with an asymmetric phenotype of the anterior segment with features of Axenfeld-Rieger anomaly in one eye, but aniridia in the other eye. This patient had non-ocular findings including flat midface, hypodontia with lack of an upper incisor, and redundant periumbilical skin, typical for ARS. A heterozygous C>T nucleotide substitution was identified in exon 4 of the pituitary homeobox 2 (PITX2) gene, resulting in the replacement of a glutamine codon (CAG) with a stop codon (TAG) at amino acid position 67. This mutation is denoted c.199C>T at the cDNA level or p.Gln67Stop (or Q67X) at the protein level. Only three cases with asymmetric anterior segment phenotype between the two eyes of a patient with AGS have been reported in the literature.


Variability in phenotype may occur between the two eyes of an individual affected by ARS. The current case undermines the advantage of genetic testing to correctly diagnose a rare disease.

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