Carbonic anhydrase inhibition in X-linked retinoschisis: An eye on the photoreceptors


Ambrosio L, Williams JS, Gutierrez A, Swanson EA, Munro RJ, Ferguson DR, Fulton AB, Akula JD. Carbonic anhydrase inhibition in X-linked retinoschisis: An eye on the photoreceptors. Exp Eye Res 2021;202:108344.

Date Published:

2021 Jan


The retinoschisin protein is encoded on the short arm of the X-chromosome by RS1, is expressed abundantly in photoreceptor inner segments and in bipolar cells, and is secreted as an octamer that maintains the structural integrity of the retina. Mutations in RS1 lead to X-linked retinoschisis (XLRS), a disease characterized by the formation of cystic spaces between boys' retinal layers that frequently present in ophthalmoscopy as a "spoke-wheel" pattern on their maculae and by progressively worsening visual acuity (VA). There is no proven therapy for XLRS, but there is mixed evidence that carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (CAIs) produce multiple beneficial effects, including improved VA and decreased volume of cystic spaces. Consequently, linear mixed-effects (LME) models were used to evaluate the effects of CAI therapy on VA and central retinal thickness (CRT, a proxy for cystic cavity volume) in a review of 19 patients' records. The mechanism of action of action of CAIs is unclear but, given that misplaced retinoschisin might accumulate in the photoreceptors, it is possible-perhaps even likely-that CAIs act to benefit the function of photoreceptors and the neighboring retinal pigment epithelium by acidification of the extracellular milieu; patients on CAIs have among the most robust photoreceptor responses. Therefore, a small subset of five subjects were recruited for imaging on a custom multimodal adaptive optics retinal imager for inspection of their parafoveal cone photoreceptors. Those cones that were visible, which numbered far fewer than in controls, were enlarged, consistent with the retinoschisin accumulation hypothesis. Results of the LME modeling found that there is an initial benefit to both VA and CRT in CAI therapy, but these wane, in both cases, after roughly two years. That said, even a short beneficial effect of CAIs on the volume of the cystic spaces may give CAI therapy an important role as pretreatment before (or immediately following) administration of gene therapy.

Last updated on 01/31/2021