Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Jul 13;24(14):11429. doi: 10.3390/ijms241411429.
Non-syndromic pediatric cataracts are defined as opacification of the crystalline lens that occurs during the first years of life without affecting other organs. Given that this disease is one of the most frequent causes of reversible blindness in childhood, the main objective of this study was to propose new responsible gene candidates that would allow a more targeted genetic approach and expand our genetic knowledge about the disease. We present a whole exome sequencing (WES) study of 20 Spanish families with non-syndromic pediatric cataracts and a previous negative result on an ophthalmology next-generation sequencing panel. After ophthalmological evaluation and collection of peripheral blood samples from these families, WES was performed. We were able to reach a genetic diagnosis in 10% of the families analyzed and found genes that could cause pediatric cataracts in 35% of the cohort. Of the variants found, 18.2% were classified as pathogenic, 9% as likely pathogenic, and 72.8% as variants of uncertain significance. However, we did not find conclusive results in 55% of the families studied, which suggests further studies are needed. The results of this WES study allow us to propose LONP1, ACACA, TRPM1, CLIC5, HSPE1, ODF1, PIKFYVE, and CHMP4A as potential candidates to further investigate for their role in pediatric cataracts, and AQP5 and locus 2q37 as causal genes.