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Arch Ophthalmol. 1997 Jan;115(1):95-9.

Clinical and genetic analysis of a family affected with dominant optic atrophy (OPA1)

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Department of Ophthalmology, University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City, USA.

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  • Arch Ophthalmol 1997 May;115(5):663.



To refine the dominant optic atrophy locus, OPA1, on chromosome 3q and to characterize the phenotype of a 6-generation family pedigree affected with this disease.


Fifty-six family members had a complete eye examination. Clinical records of an additional 3 patients were reviewed. Goldmann perimetry and a 21-chip subtest of the Farnsworth-Munsell 100-Hue test were performed on selected patients. Affected patients, unaffected siblings, and potentially informative spouses were genotyped with short tandem repeat polymorphisms located on chromosome 3. The genotypic data were subjected to linkage analysis.


Thirty-four family members were found to be clinically affected. Most experienced vision loss (20/40 or poorer) in the first decade of life. Most (9 of the 16 eyes) progressed to 20/800 or poorer visual acuity by age 60 years, while 2 patients maintained visual acuities of 20/40 at that age. Affected patients had a 2- to 10-fold increase in the error score of a 21-chip subtest of the Farnsworth-Munsell 100-Hue test compared with age-matched unaffected family members. The optic nerve examination revealed temporal pallor and excavation in all affected individuals. Linkage analysis revealed significant lod scores with 9 markers. The highest lod score, 10.1 (theta = 0) [corrected], was obtained with marker D3S2305. Analysis of recombinants narrowed the disease interval to approximately 3.8 centimorgans, flanked by D3S3669 (centromeric) and D3S1305 (telomeric).


Most patients affected with dominant optic atrophy in this family progressed to legal blindness by middle age. Color vision testing is a sensitive method for detection of affected patients. The dominant optic atrophy locus, OPA1, has been refined by the identification of new flanking markers: D3S3669 (centromeric) and D3S1305 (telomeric).

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