Indexed on: 04 Jun '10Published on: 04 Jun '10Published in: Genome Medicine
Monogenic human retinal dystrophies are a group of disorders characterized by progressive loss of photoreceptor cells leading to visual handicap. Retinitis pigmentosa is a type of retinal dystrophy where degeneration of rod photoreceptors occurs at the early stages. At present, there are no available effective therapies to maintain or improve vision in patients affected with retinitis pigmentosa, but post-genomic studies are allowing the development of potential therapeutic approaches. This review summarizes current knowledge on genes that have been identified to be responsible for retinitis pigmentosa, the involvement of these genes in the different forms of the disorder, the role of the proteins encoded by these genes in retinal function, the utility of genotyping, and current efforts to develop novel therapies.