Classifying abca4 mutation severity using age-dependent ultra-widefield fundus autofluorescence-derived total lesion size

Rachael C. Heath Jeffery, Jennifer A. Thompson, Tina M. Lamey, Terri L. Mclaren, Ian L. Mcallister, Ian J. Constable, David A. Mackey, John N. De Roach, Fred K. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: To establish a mutation-specific age-dependent ultra-widefield fundus autofluorescence (UWF-FAF) trajectory in a large Stargardt disease (STGD1) cohort using total lesion size (TLS) and to develop a clinical method for variant classification. Methods: A retrospective study of patients with biallelic ABCA4 mutations that were evaluated with UWF-FAF. Boundaries of TLS, defined by stippled hyper/hypoautofluorescence, were outlined manually. Pathogenicity was assessed according to ACMG/AMP criteria, and mutation severities were classified based on the current literature. Agedependent trajectories in TLS were examined in patients with nullizygous, mild, and intermediate mutations. Mutations of uncertain severities were classified using a clinical criterion based on age of symptom onset and TLS. Results: Eighty-one patients with STGD1 (mean age = 42 ± 20 years and mean visual acuity = 20/200) were recruited from 65 unrelated families. Patients with biallelic null/severe variants (n = 6) demonstrated an increase in TLS during their second decade reaching a mean ± SD of 796 ± 29 mm2 by age 40. Those harboring mild mutations c.5882G.A or c.5603A.T had lesions confined to the posterior pole with a mean ± SD TLS of 30 ± 39 mm2. Intermediate mutations c.6079C.T or c.[2588G.C;5603A.T] in trans with a null/severe mutation had a mean ± SD TLS of 397 ± 29 mm2. Thirty-two mutations were predicted to cause severe (n = 22), intermediate (n = 6), and mild (n = 5) impairment of ABCA4 function based on age of symptom onset and TLS. Conclusion: Age-dependent TLS showed unique ABCA4 mutation-specific trajectories. Our novel clinical criterion using age of symptom onset and TLS to segregate ABCA4 mutations into three severity groups requires further molecular studies to confirm its validity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2578-2588
Number of pages11
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


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