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Francesco Testa, Vittoria Murro, Sabrina Signorini, Leonardo Colombo, Giancarlo Iarossi, Francesco Parmeggiani, Benedetto Falsini, Anna Paola Salvetti, Raffaella Brunetti-Pierri, Giorgia Aprile, Chiara Bertone, Agnese Suppiej, Francesco Romano, Marianthi Karali, Simone Donati, Paolo Melillo, Andrea Sodi, Luciano Quaranta, Luca Rossetti, Luca Buzzonetti, Marzio Chizzolini, Stanislao Rizzo, Giovanni Staurenghi, Sandro Banfi, Claudio Azzolini, Francesca Simonelli; RPE65-Associated Retinopathies in the Italian Population: A Longitudinal Natural History Study. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2022;63(2):13. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.63.2.13.
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To investigate the course of inherited retinal degenerations (IRD) due to mutations in the RPE65 gene.
This longitudinal multicentric retrospective chart-review study was designed to collect best corrected visual acuity (BCVA), Goldman visual field, optical coherence tomography (OCT), and electroretinography (ERG) measurements. The data, including imaging, were collected using an electronic clinical research form and were reviewed at a single center to improve consistency.
From an overall cohort of 60 Italian patients with RPE65-associated IRD, 43 patients (mean age, 27.8 ± 19.7 years) were included and showed a mean BCVA of 2.0 ± 1.0 logMAR. Time-to-event analysis revealed a median age of 33.8 years and 41.4 years to reach low vision and blindness based on BCVA, respectively. ERG (available for 34 patients) showed undetectable responses in most patients (26; 76.5%). OCT (available for 31 patients) revealed epiretinal membranes in five patients (16.1%). Central foveal thickness significantly decreased with age at a mean annual rate of −0.6%/y (P = 0.044). We identified 43 different variants in the RPE65 gene in the entire cohort. Nine variants were novel. Finally, to assess genotype-phenotype correlations, patients were stratified according to the number of RPE65 loss-of-function (LoF) alleles. Patients without LoF variants showed significantly (P < 0.05) better BCVA compared to patients with one or two LoF alleles.
We described the natural course of RPE65-associated IRD in an Italian cohort showing for the first time a specific genotype-phenotype association. Our findings can contribute to a better management of RPE65-associated IRD patients.
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