Abstract Purpose: To investigate genotype-phenotype correlation and to analyze functional and structural changes in the retina of patients with von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease. Methods: Thirteen patients from four families (A, B, C and D) with known VHL disease and known mutations in the VHL gene were examined. All patients underwent clinical examination and optical coherence tomography (OCT). Full-field electroretinography (full-field ERG) was performed in twelve patients. Results: Family A, with deletion of exon 3 in the VHL gene, and family B, with the missense mutation p.R79P, exhibited type 1 VHL characterized by the absence of pheochromocytoma and a high incidence of central nervous system hemangioblastomas. One member of family B exhibited Goldenhar syndrome. A novel missense mutation (p.L198P) was identified in the VHL gene in the patient from family C. This p.L198P mutation caused a phenotype with early onset of a neuroendocrine tumor of the pancreas, bilateral pheochromocytomas, and optic nerve hemangioblastoma. Full-field ERG showed significantly prolonged implicit times of the b-wave and maximal combined a-wave in VHL patients, compared to controls. Examination of the retinal structure in all patients with VHL, using OCT, showed a significant decrease in retinal thickness in VHL patients without ocular hemangioblastomas, compared to controls. Conclusions: Our findings support previously established genotype-phenotype correlations. However, we here describe an unusual phenotype with a novel missense mutation, p.L198P, and report the finding that VHL disease can be associated with Goldenhar syndrome. Electrophysiological and structural findings suggest that VHL disease is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease of the retina.
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