Novel ophthalmological features in hereditary endotheliopathy with retinopathy, nephropathy and stroke syndrome


Correspondence: Dr Amy Cohn, The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, 32 Gisborne Street, East Melbourne, Vic. 3002, Australia. Email:


The ophthalmic features are reported of a member of an Australian pedigree with three affected individuals spanning two generations with a hereditary endotheliopathy syndrome resulting in retinopathy, leukoencephalopathy and nephropathy. The index case initially presented with asymptomatic retinopathy, cerebral microvascular disease, nephropathy and raised inflammatory markers. The clinical, neuro-radiological, biochemical and histopathological findings in this patient are consistent with a diagnosis of hereditary endotheliopathy, retinopathy, nephropathy and stroke (HERNS). Linkage analysis has identified a locus for HERNS on chromosome 3p21.1-p21.3. This locus is shared with two other diseases: hereditary vascular retinopathy (HVR) and cerebroretinal vasculopathy (CRV). Although peripheral retinal involvement is a feature of HVR, it has not previously been described in HERNS. This case represents a novel phenotype of HERNS, and serves to blur the distinction between the vasculopathies mapping to chromosome 3p21. Although previously thought to be distinct clinical entities, it is possible that HERNS, HVR and CRV simply represent different phenotypes of the same disease. This will only be clarified with the identification of the gene or genes. This case also raises the question of how best to manage rare forms of vascular retinopathy.