NOTCH2NLC GGC repeat expansion causes retinal pathology with intranuclear inclusions throughout the retina and causes visual impairment.Acta Neuropathol Commun. 2023 05 02; 11(1):71.AN
The retinal pathology of genetically confirmed neuronal intranuclear inclusion disease (NIID) is yet unknown. We report the ocular findings in four NIID patients with NOTCH2NLC GGC repeat expansion to investigate the pathology of retinopathy. All four NIID patients were diagnosed by skin biopsy and NOTCH2NLC GGC repeat analysis. Ocular findings in patients with NIID were studied using fundus photographs, optical coherence tomographic images (OCT), and full-field electroretinograms (ERGs). The histopathology of the retina was studied on autopsy samples from two cases with immunohistochemistry. All patients had an expansion of the GGC repeat (87-134 repeats) in the NOTCH2NLC. Two patients were legally blind and had been diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa prior to the diagnosis of NIID and assessed with whole exome sequencing to rule out comorbidity with other retinal diseases. Fundus photographs around the posterior pole showed chorioretinal atrophy in the peripapillary regions. OCT showed thinning of the retina. ERGs showed various abnormalities in cases. The histopathology of autopsy samples showed diffusely scattered intranuclear inclusions throughout the retina from the retinal pigment epithelium to the ganglion cell layer, and optic nerve glial cells. And severe gliosis was observed in retina and optic nerve. The NOTCH2NLC GGC repeat expansion causes numerous intranuclear inclusions in the retina and optic nerve cells and gliosis. Visual dysfunction could be the first sign of NIID. We should consider NIID as one of the causes of retinal dystrophy and investigate the GGC repeat expansion in NOTCH2NLC.