A Description of the Yield of Genetic Reinvestigation in Patients with Inherited Retinal Dystrophies and Previous Inconclusive Genetic Testing

Maria Areblom, Sten Kjellström, Sten Andréasson, Anders Öhberg, Lotta Gränse, Ulrika Kjellström

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the present era of evolving gene-based therapies for inherited retinal dystrophies (IRDs), it has become increasingly important to verify the genotype in every case, to identify all subjects eligible for treatment. Moreover, combined insight concerning phenotypes and genotypes is crucial for improved understanding of thevisual impairment, prognosis, and inheritance. The objective of this study was to investigate to what extent renewed comprehensive genetic testing of patients diagnosed with IRD but with previously inconclusive DNA test results can verify the genotype, if confirmation of the genotype has an impact on the understanding of the clinical picture, and, to describe the genetic spectrum encountered in a Swedish IRD cohort. The study included 279 patients from the retinitis pigmentosa research registry (comprising diagnosis within the whole IRD spectrum), hosted at the Department of Ophthalmology, Skåne University hospital, Sweden. The phenotypes had already been evaluated with electrophysiology and other clinical tests, e.g., visual acuity, Goldmann perimetry, and fundus imaging at the first visit, sometime between 1988–2015 and the previous—in many cases, multiple—genetic testing, performed between 1995 and 2020 had been inconclusive. All patients were aged 0–25 years at the time of their first visit. Renewed genetic testing was performed using a next generation sequencing (NGS) IRD panel including 322 genes (Blueprint Genetics). Class 5 and 4 variants, according to ACMG guidelines, were considered pathogenic. Of the 279 samples tested, a confirmed genotype was determined in 182 (65%). The cohort was genetically heterogenous, including 65 different genes. The most prevailing were ABCA4 (16.5%), RPGR (6%), CEP290 (6%), and RS1 (5.5%). Other prevalent genes were CACNA1F (3%), PROM1 (3%), CHM (3%), and NYX (3%). In 7% of the patients there was a discrepancy between the diagnosis made based on phenotypical or genotypical findings alone. To conclude, repeated DNA-analysis was beneficial also in previously tested patients and improved our ability to verify the genotype–phenotype association increasing the understanding of how visual impairment manifests, prognosis, and the inheritance pattern. Moreover, repeated testing using a widely available method could identify additional patients eligible for future gene-based therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1413
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Ophthalmology

Free keywords

  • DNA analysis
  • inherited retinal dystrophy
  • next generation sequencing
  • phenotype–genotype correlation
  • re-analysis


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