Congenital posterior pole cataract and adult onset dilating cardiomyopathy: expanding the phenotype of αB-crystallinopathies



Mutations in the αB-crystallin gene (CRYAB) have been reported in desmin-related myopathies, with or without cardiac involvement. Mutations in this gene have also been documented in large multi-generation families with autosomal dominant congenital posterior pole cataract (CPPC). In these congenital cataract families no cardiac or muscular phenotype was reported. This report describes a family with an unusual read-through mutation in CRYAB, leading to the elongation of the normal αB-crystallin protein with 19 amino acid residues. Affected family members combine a CPPC with an adult onset dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), thereby expanding the αB-crystallinopathy phenotype. Repolarisation abnormalities preceded the onset of cardiomyopathy and were already present in childhood. No skeletal myopathy was observed. This report illustrates that congenital cataract can be a prelude to more severe disease even outside the context of inborn errors of metabolism. The identification of a CRYAB mutation in this family supports the notion that mutations in this gene are a rare cause of genetically determined DCM. The combined congenital cataract/cardiomyopathy phenotype adds to our understanding of the complex phenotypic spectrum of αB-crystallinopathies.