In a prior study, a new autosomal recessive retinitis pigmentosa gene (male germ cell–associated kinase; MAK) was recently identified. In this report, ophthalmoscopic, electrophysiologic, perimetric, and OCT features of 24 individuals with mutations in this gene are described.
To determine the disease expression in autosomal recessive (ar) retinitis pigmentosa (RP) caused by mutations in the MAK (male germ cell-associated kinase) gene.
Patients with RP and MAK gene mutations (n = 24; age, 32–77 years at first visit) were studied by ocular examination, perimetry, and optical coherence tomography (OCT).
All but one MAK patient were homozygous for an identical truncating mutation in exon 9 and had Ashkenazi Jewish heritage. The carrier frequency of this mutation among 1207 unrelated Ashkenazi control subjects was 1 in 55, making it the most common cause of heritable retinal disease in this population and MAK-associated RP the sixth most common Mendelian disease overall in this group. Visual acuities could be normal into the eighth decade of life. Kinetic fields showed early loss in the superior–temporal quadrant. With more advanced disease, superior and midperipheral function was lost, but the nasal field remained. Only a central island was present at late stages. Pigmentary retinopathy was less prominent in the superior nasal quadrant. Rod-mediated vision was abnormal but detectable in the residual field; all patients had rod>cone dysfunction. Photoreceptor layer thickness was normal centrally but decreased with eccentricity. At the stages studied, there was no evidence of photoreceptor ciliary elongation.
The patterns of disease expression in the MAK form of arRP showed some resemblance to patterns described in autosomal dominant RP, especially the form caused by RP1 mutations. The similarity in phenotypes is of interest, considering that there is experimental evidence of interaction between Mak and RP1 in the photoreceptor cilium.