Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2022 Sep 1;63(10):9. doi: 10.1167/iovs.63.10.9.
PURPOSE: To identify the missing heritability of patients with Wolfram syndrome 1 (WFS1) in a Chinese cohort and to report their clinical and genetic features.
METHODS: We recruited 24 unrelated patients with suspected WFS1 who carried at least one variant in WFS1. All patients underwent ophthalmic examinations and comprehensive molecular genetic analyses, including Sanger-DNA sequencing of WFS1 and next-generation sequencing of the whole WFS1 sequence.
RESULTS: We identified 38 distinct pathogenic variants of WFS1 in the 24 probands, comprising 23 patients with biallelic variants and one patient with a monoallelic variant. Sanger-DNA sequencing of WFS1 initially detected 35 variants, and subsequent whole genome sequencing revealed three missing variants: one novel deep intronic variant (DIV), one copy number variant (CNV), and one variant in the promoter region. Minigene assays showed that the DIV activated cryptic splice sites, leading to the insertion of pseudoexons. Optic atrophy was observed in all patients, and diabetes mellitus (DM) was revealed in 21 patients (91.3%), hearing loss in nine patients (39.1%), renal tract abnormalities in nine patients (39.1%), and diabetes insipidus in five patients (21.7%). The mean onset age for DM was significantly younger in the patients with biallelic null variants than in the patients with biallelic missense variants.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results extend the pathogenic variant spectrum of WFS1. DIVs and CNVs explained rare unresolved Chinese cases with WFS1. The patients showed a wide and variable clinical spectrum, supporting the importance of genetic analysis for patients with atypical WFS1.