Purpose: Homozygous mutations in SLC4A11 cause 2 rare recessive conditions: congenital hereditary endothelial dystrophy (CHED), affecting the cornea alone, and Harboyan syndrome consisting of corneal dystrophy and sensorineural hearing loss. In addition, adult-onset Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD) is associated with dominant mutations in SLC4A11. In this report, we investigate whether patients with CHED go on to develop hearing loss and whether their parents, who are carriers of an SLC4A11 mutation, show signs of having FECD.
Methods: Patients with CHED were screened for mutations in the SLC4A11 gene and underwent audiometric testing. The patients and their parents underwent a clinical examination and specular microscopy.
Results: Molecular analyses confirmed SLC4A11 mutations in 4 affected individuals from 3 families. All the patients were found to have varying degrees of sensorineural hearing loss at a higher frequency range. Guttate lesions were seen in 2 of the 4 parents who were available for examination.
Conclusions: Our observations suggest that CHED caused by homozygous SLC4A11 mutations progresses to Harboyan syndrome, but the severity of this may vary considerably. Patients with CHED should therefore be monitored for progressive hearing loss. We could not determine conclusively whether the parents of the patients with CHED were at increased risk of developing late-onset FECD.