Front Neurol. 2022 Oct 28;13:1003046. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2022.1003046. eCollection 2022.
BACKGROUND: We present the disease course and long-term follow-up of two patients who were phenotypically diagnosed with atypical Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON) 14 and 12 years ago, respectively, whereby whole exome sequencing revealed recently described recessive DNAJC30:c.152G>A 152 A>G (p.Tyr51Cys) homozygous pathogenic variant with significant spontaneous visual acuity recovery in one.
CASE PRESENTATION: Two presented unrelated males with atypical LHON with sequential visual acuity (VA) loss were followed for many years. Both patients had negative family history. At the presentation at ages 17 (Case 1) and 18 years (Case 2), both had reduced visual acuity (Snellen): (Case 1) right eye (RE):CF 3m, left eye (LE):0.6, (Case 2) RE:0.2, LE:0.15; and color vision (Ishihara): (Case 1) 1/15 and 13/15; (Case 2) 2/15 and 3/15. Both had hyperemic optic disks (PNO) and central scotoma in their visual fields. Electrophysiology in the acute phase showed reduced and delayed visually evoked potentials (VEP) P100 in both patients, with reduced N95 amplitude in Case 2, and initially normal N95 amplitude in Case 1. Fluorescein angiography showed no early leakage with some late pooling at optic disks. Extensive clinical workout, including brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), aquaporin 4 (Aq4), and anti-myelin oligodendrocyte protein (anti-MOG) antibodies, was negative. Intravenous corticosteroids did not improve vision. Both experienced further deterioration several months after the onset accompanied by thinning of the peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL). Genetic testing for typical LHON pathogenic variants and whole mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequencing was negative. 1 year after the onset, modest VA improvement began in Case 2 and continued over the next 3 years. VA improved bilaterally to 0.7, color vision 15/15, and islands of vision appeared within the visual field scotoma. VEP P100 peak time shortened, and amplitude increased, despite further RNFL thinning on optical coherent tomography (OCT). The patient’s visual function remained stable during the entire 12-year follow-up period. Case 1 experienced modest VA improvement to 0.1 with some improvement in the visual field seven years after the disease onset, remaining stable during the entire 14-year follow-up period. VEP P100 wave remained undetectable.
CONCLUSIONS: Presented are two autosomal recessive LHON (arLHON, OMIM:619382) cases with the same DNAJC30:c.152G>A pathogenic variant and different degrees of spontaneous visual recovery despite progressive RNFL thinning during a long-term follow-up. This mutation should be screened in every atypical LHON patient.