Autosomal dominant Progressive External Ophthalmoplegias are Mendelian disorders characterized by the accumulation of multiple deletions of mitochondrial DNA in critical tissues. Most of the Autosomal dominant Progressive External Ophthalmoplegias families carry heterozygous mutations in one of three genes: ANT1, encoding the muscle-heart specific mitochondrial adenine nucleotide translocator, Twinkle, encoding the mitochondrial DNA helicase, and POLG1, encoding the catalytic subunit of the mitochondrial DNA-specific polymerase. Mutations in both POLG1 alleles are also found in autosomal recessive Progressive External Ophthalmoplegias sibships with multiple affected members and in apparently sporadic cases. In addition, recessive POLG1 mutations are responsible for three additional diseases: Alpers-Huttenlocher hepatopathic poliodystrophy, Sensory-Ataxic Neuropathy Dysarthria and Ophthalmoplegia and juvenile SpinoCerebellar Ataxia-Epilepsy syndrome. Mitochondrial neuro-gastro-intestinal encephalomyopathy is an autosomal recessive disorder of juvenile onset, caused by mutations in the gene encoding Thymidine Phosphorylase. Thymidine Phosphorylase is involved in the control and maintenance of the pyrimidine nucleoside pool of the cell. Finally, mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome is a heterogeneous group of disorders characterized by a reduction in mitochondrial DNA copy number. Clinically, they include a myopathic form, a more generalized encephalomyopathic form and a fatal infantile hepato-cerebral syndrome leading to rapidly progressive liver and brain failure. To date, eight genes have been associated with mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome. Novel disease genes have recently been added to this list, including OPA1 and GFER, and new clinical variants add further complexity to this expanding area of mitochondrial medicine.
Mitochondrial DNA; oxidative phosphorylation; mitochondrial disorders; MtDNA multiple deletions; MtDNA depletion
Polymerase-γ (POLG) is a major human disease gene and may account for up to 25% of all mitochondrial diseases in the UK and in Italy. To date, >150 different pathogenic mutations have been described in POLG. Some mutations behave as both dominant and recessive alleles, but an autosomal recessive inheritance pattern is much more common. The most frequently detected pathogenic POLG mutation in the Caucasian population is c.1399G>A leading to a p.Ala467Thr missense mutation in the linker domain of the protein. Although many patients are homozygous for this mutation, clinical presentation is highly variable, ranging from childhood-onset Alpers-Huttenlocher syndrome to adult-onset sensory ataxic neuropathy dysarthria and ophthalmoparesis. The reasons for this are not clear, but familial clustering of phenotypes suggests that modifying factors may influence the clinical manifestation. In this study, we collected clinical, histological and biochemical data from 68 patients carrying the homozygous p.Ala467Thr mutation from eight diagnostic centres in Europe and the USA. We performed DNA analysis in 44 of these patients to search for a genetic modifier within POLG and flanking regions potentially involved in the regulation of gene expression, and extended our analysis to other genes affecting mitochondrial DNA maintenance (POLG2, PEO1 and ANT1). The clinical presentation included almost the entire phenotypic spectrum of all known POLG mutations. Interestingly, the clinical presentation was similar in siblings, implying a genetic basis for the phenotypic variability amongst homozygotes. However, the p.Ala467Thr allele was present on a shared haplotype in each affected individual, and there was no correlation between the clinical presentation and genetic variants in any of the analysed nuclear genes. Patients with mitochondrial DNA haplogroup U developed epilepsy significantly less frequently than patients with any other mitochondrial DNA haplotype. Epilepsy was reported significantly more frequently in females than in males, and also showed an association with one of the chromosomal markers defining the POLG haplotype. In conclusion, our clinical results show that the homozygous p.Ala467Thr POLG mutation does not cause discrete phenotypes, as previously suggested, but rather there is a continuum of clinical symptoms. Our results suggest that the mitochondrial DNA background plays an important role in modifying the disease phenotype but nuclear modifiers, epigenetic and environmental factors may also influence the severity of disease.
mitochondrial diseases; neuromuscular disorders; genetics; phenotype; molecular biology
Mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy is a rare multisystemic autosomic recessive disorder characterized by: onset typically before the age of 30 years; ptosis; progressive external ophthalmoplegia; gastrointestinal dysmotility; cachexia; peripheral neuropathy; and leucoencephalopathy. The disease is caused by mutations in the TYMP gene encoding thymidine phosphorylasethymine phosphorylase. Anecdotal reports suggest that allogeneic haematopoetic stem cell transplantation may be beneficial for mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy, but is associated with a high mortality. After selecting patients who fulfilled the clinical criteria for mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy and had severe thymidine phosphorylase deficiency in the buffy coat (<10% of normal activity), we reviewed their medical records and laboratory studies. We identified 102 patients (50 females) with mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy and an average age of 32.4 years (range 11–59 years). We found 20 novel TYMP mutations. The average age-at-onset was 17.9 years (range 5 months to 35 years); however, the majority of patients reported the first symptoms before the age of 12 years. The patient distribution suggests a relatively high prevalence in Europeans, while the mutation distribution suggests founder effects for a few mutations, such as c.866A>G in Europe and c.518T>G in the Dominican Republic, that could guide genetic screening in each location. Although the sequence of clinical manifestations in the disease varied, half of the patients initially had gastrointestinal symptoms. We confirmed anecdotal reports of intra- and inter-familial clinical variability and absence of genotype–phenotype correlation in the disease, suggesting genetic modifiers, environmental factors or both contribute to disease manifestations. Acute medical events such as infections often provoked worsening of symptoms, suggesting that careful monitoring and early treatment of intercurrent illnesses may be beneficial. We observed endocrine/exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, which had not previously been reported. Kaplan–Meier analysis revealed significant mortality between the ages of 20 and 40 years due to infectious or metabolic complications. Despite increasing awareness of this illness, a high proportion of patients had been misdiagnosed. Early and accurate diagnosis of mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy, together with timely treatment of acute intercurrent illnesses, may retard disease progression and increase the number of patients eligible for allogeneic haematopoetic stem cell transplantation.
mitochondrial disease; MNGIE; encephalomyopathy; TYMP; BMT
Mitochondrial genetic diseases can result from defects in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in the form of deletions, point mutations, or depletion, which ultimately cause loss of oxidative phosphorylation. These mutations may be spontaneous, maternally inherited, or a result of inherited nuclear defects in genes that maintain mtDNA. This review focuses on our current understanding of nuclear gene mutations that produce mtDNA alterations and cause mitochondrial depletion syndrome (MDS), progressive external ophthalmoplegia (PEO), ataxia-neuropathy, or mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy (MNGIE). To date, all of these etiologic nuclear genes fall into one of two categories: genes whose products function directly at the mtDNA replication fork, such as POLG, POLG2, and TWINKLE, or genes whose products supply the mitochondria with deoxynucleotide triphosphate pools needed for DNA replication, such as TK2, DGUOK, TP, SUCLA2, ANT1, and possibly the newly identified MPV17.
DNA polymerase γ; nucleotide pools; mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome; progressive external ophthalmoplegia; ataxia-neuropathy
Mutations in the POLG gene have emerged as one of the most common causes of inherited mitochondrial disease in children and adults. They are responsible for a heterogeneous group of at least 6 major phenotypes of neurodegenerative disease that include: 1) childhood Myocerebrohepatopathy Spectrum disorders (MCHS), 2) Alpers syndrome, 3) Ataxia Neuropathy Spectrum (ANS) disorders, 4) Myoclonus Epilepsy Myopathy Sensory Ataxia (MEMSA), 5) autosomal recessive Progressive External Ophthalmoplegia (arPEO), and 6) autosomal dominant Progressive External Ophthalmoplegia (adPEO). Due to the clinical heterogeneity, time-dependent evolution of symptoms, overlapping phenotypes, and inconsistencies in muscle pathology findings, definitive diagnosis relies on the molecular finding of deleterious mutations. We sequenced the exons and flanking intron region from approximately 350 patients displaying a phenotype consistent with POLG related mitochondrial disease and found informative mutations in 61 (17%). Two mutant alleles were identified in 31 unrelated index patients with autosomal recessive POLG-related disorders. Among them, 20 (67%) had Alpers syndrome, 4 (13%) had arPEO, and 3 (10%) had ANS. In addition, 30 patients carrying one altered POLG allele were found. A total of 25 novel alterations were identified, including 6 null mutations. We describe the predicted structural/functional and clinical importance of the previously unreported missense variants and discuss their likelihood of being pathogenic. In conclusion, sequence analysis allows the identification of mutations responsible for POLG-related disorders and, in most of the autosomal recessive cases where two mutant alleles are found in trans, finding deleterious mutations can provide an unequivocal diagnosis of the disease.
POLG; POLG1; Alpers syndrome; PEO; adPEO; arPEO; SANDO; SCAE; ANS; MEMSA; MCHS; mtDNA depletion; liver failure
DNA polymerase γ (pol γ), encoded by POLG, is responsible for replicating human mitochondrial DNA. About 150 mutations in the human POLG have been identified in patients with mitochondrial diseases such as Alpers syndrome, progressive external ophthalmoplegia, and ataxia-neuropathy syndromes. Because many of the mutations are described in single citations with no genotypic family history, it is important to ascertain which mutations cause or contribute to mitochondrial disease. The vast majority of data about POLG mutations has been generated from biochemical characterizations of recombinant pol γ. However, recently, the study of mitochondrial dysfunction in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and mouse models provides important in vivo evidence for the role of POLG mutations in disease. Also, the published 3D-structure of the human pol γ assists in explaining some of the biochemical and genetic properties of the mutants. This review summarizes the current evidence that identifies and explains disease-causing POLG mutations.
Mitochondria; mtDNA replication; DNA polymerase gamma; POLG; DNA repair
Bulbar weakness and fatigue resulting in dysphagia and dysarthria is common in myasthenia gravis. In chronic MG it is often assumed that these symptoms herald an exacerbation of the patient's disease and doses of cholinergic agents and immunomodulatory therapies may be increased, along with initiation of plasma exchange. A case is presented in which dysphagia was refractory to standard MG therapy, leading to the subsequent discovery of cricopharyngeal sphincter achalasia as the primary cause of the patient's symptoms rather than an assumed myasthenia gravis exacerbation. The patient's dysphagia resolved after esophageal dilatation. Cricopharyngeal sphincter achalasia is a common disorder producing dysphagia in the elderly and needs to be considered in the evaluation of a myasthenic patient with worsening dysphagia when standard myasthenia gravis therapy fails. Discussion of myasthenia gravis, cholinergic therapy and cricopharyngeal sphincter achalasia is undertaken. Clinicians are encouraged to consider non-neurologic causes of worsening dysphagia in the myasthenic patient.
Mutations in the gene encoding the catalytic subunit of polymerase γ (POLG1) are a major cause of human mitochondrial disease. More than 150 different point mutations in the gene have been reported to be disease causing, resulting in a large range of clinical symptoms. Depending on the mutation or combination of mutations, disease onset can occur in early infancy or late in adult life. Here, we describe the use of multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) analysis to detect deletions within POLG1, which could otherwise go undetected by solely sequencing of the gene. We present a case where an entire POLG1 allele is deleted, with a known pathogenic mutation (W748S) on the remaining allele. The deletion was found in a boy with Alpers syndrome, presenting at 18 months of age with slightly retarded motor development, balance problems, and seizures. Administration of valproic acid (VPA) led to rapidly progressive fatal liver failure in our patient, and we would like to highlight the need to carry out complete POLG1 gene analysis before administration of VPA in cases of pediatric seizure disorders of unknown origin. Debut and severity of the disease in this patient was unique when compared to homozygous or heterozygous patients with the W748S mutation, leading to the conclusion that gene dosage plays a role in the clinical phenotype of this disease.
Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is replicated by the DNA polymerase γ in concert with accessory proteins such as the mitochondrial DNA helicase, single stranded DNA binding protein, topoisomerase, and initiating factors. Nucleotide precursors for mtDNA replication arise from the mitochondrial salvage pathway originating from transport of nucleosides, or alternatively from cytoplasmic reduction of ribonucleotides. Defects in mtDNA replication or nucleotide metabolism can cause mitochondrial genetic diseases due to mtDNA deletions, point mutations, or depletion which ultimately cause loss of oxidative phosphorylation. These genetic diseases include mtDNA depletion syndromes (MDS) such as Alpers or early infantile hepatocerebral syndromes, and mtDNA deletion disorders, such as progressive external ophthalmoplegia (PEO), ataxia-neuropathy, or mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy (MNGIE). This review focuses on our current knowledge of genetic defects of mtDNA replication (POLG, POLG2, C10orf2) and nucleotide metabolism (TYMP, TK2, DGOUK, and RRM2B) that cause instability of mtDNA and mitochondrial disease.
DNA polymerase γ; mitochondrial DNA replication; nucleotide pools; mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome; progressive external ophthalmoplegia; ataxia-neuropathy
POLG1 mutations have been associated with MELAS-like phenotypes. However given several clinical differences it is unknown whether POLG1 mutations are possible causes of MELAS or give raise to a distinct clinical and genetic entity, named POLG1-associated encephalopathy.
We describe a 74 years old man carrying POLG1 mutations presenting with strokes, myopathy and ragged red fibers with some atypical aspects for MELAS such as late onset, lack of cerebral calcification and presence of frontal and occipital MRI lesions better consistent with the POLG associated-encephalopathy spectrum.
The lack of available data hampers a definite diagnosis in our patient as well as makes it difficult to compare MELAS, which is a clearly defined clinical syndrome, with POLG1-associated encephalopathy, which is so far a purely molecularly defined syndrome with a quite heterogeneous clinical picture. However, the present report contributes to expand the phenotypic spectrum of POLG1 mutations underlining the importance of searching POLG1 mutations in patients with mitochondrial signs and MELAS like phenotypes but negative for common mtDNA mutations.
POLG1; MELAS; Red-ragged fibers; Stroke-like
Chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction (CIPO) is a syndrome characterized by recurrent clinical episodes of intestinal obstruction in the absence of any mechanical cause occluding the gut. There are multiple causes related to this rare syndrome. Mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy (MNGIE) is one of the causes related to primary CIPO. MNGIE is caused by mutations in the gene encoding thymidine phosphorylase. These mutations lead to an accumulation of thymidine and deoxyuridine in blood and tissues of these patients. Toxic levels of these nucleosides induce mitochondrial DNA abnormalities leading to an abnormal intestinal motility.
Herein, we described two rare cases of MNGIE syndrome associated with CIPO, which needed surgical treatment for gastrointestinal complications. In one patient, intra-abdominal hypertension and compartment syndrome generated as a result of the colonic distension forced to perform emergency surgery. In the other patient, a perforated duodenal diverticulum was the cause that forced to perform surgery. There is not a definitive treatment for MNGIE syndrome and survival does not exceed 40 years of age. Surgery only should be considered in some selected patients.
DNA polymerase γ (pol γ) is responsible for replication and repair of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Over 150 mutations in POLG (which encodes pol γ) have been discovered in patients with mitochondrial disorders including Alpers, progressive external ophthalmoplegia and ataxia-neuropathy syndrome. However, the severity and dominance of many POLG disease-associated mutations are unclear, because they have been reported in sporadic cases. To understand the consequences of pol γ disease-associated mutations in vivo, we identified dominant and recessive changes in mtDNA mutagenesis, depletion and mitochondrial dysfunction caused by 31 mutations in the conserved regions of the gene, MIP1, which encodes the Saccharomyces cerevisiae ortholog of human pol γ. Twenty mip1 mutant enzymes were shown to disrupt mtDNA replication and may be sufficient to cause disease. Previously uncharacterized sporadic mutations, Q308H, R807C, G1076V, R1096H and S1104C, caused decreased polymerase activity leading to mtDNA depletion and mitochondrial dysfunction. We present evidence showing a limited role of point mutagenesis by these POLG mutations in mitochondrial dysfunction and disease progression. Instead, most mitochondrial defective mip1 mutants displayed reduced or depleted mtDNA. We also determined that the severity of the phenotype of the mip1 mutant strain correlates with the age of onset of disease associated with the human ortholog. Finally, we demonstrated that increasing nucleotide pools by overexpression of ribonucleotide reductase (RNR1) suppressed mtDNA replication defects caused by several dominant mip1 mutations, and the orthologous human mutations revealed severe nucleotide binding defects.
Decreased tongue strength (TS) might herald bulbar involvement in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) well before dysarthria or dysphagia occur, and as such might be prognostic of short survival. The purpose of this study was to investigate the prognostic value of a decreased TS, in addition to other prognostic factors, such as site of onset, bulbar symptoms, bulbar signs, age, sex, maximum phonation time, time from symptoms to diagnosis, and gastrostomy, for survival time in patients with ALS. TS was measured in four directions in 111 patients who attended the diagnostic outpatient motor neuron clinic of our university hospital. Of these patients, 54 were diagnosed with ALS. TS was considered abnormal if the strength in minimally one direction was at least two standard deviations below the reference values obtained from comparable age category and sex-groups of healthy controls (n = 119). Twenty of the patients with ALS had a decreased TS. Multivariable analysis showed that, in addition to age, TS was an independent prognostic factor for survival time in patients with ALS.
ALS; Tongue strength; Survival; Prognosis
Mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy (MNGIE) is an autosomal recessive disease due to ECGF1 gene mutations causing thymidine phosphorylase (TP) deficiency. Analysis of post-mortem samples of five MNGIE patients and two controls, revealed TP activity in all control tissues, but not in MNGIE samples. Converse to TP activity, thymidine and deoxyuridine were absent in control samples, but present in all tissues of MNGIE patients. Concentrations of both nucleosides in the tissues were generally higher than those observed in plasma of MNGIE patients. Our observations indicate that in the absence of TP activity, tissues accumulate nucleosides, which are excreted into plasma.
Mitochondria; MNGIE; thymidine phosphorylase; thymidine; deoxyuridine
Mutations in POLG1 are an important cause of human mitochondrial disease. We describe a woman who presented with bilateral ptosis and external ophthalmoplegia at 64 years of age. Neurological examination revealed symptoms of diffuse encephalopathy. The symptoms were progressive and at 67 years she was severely cognitively impaired, had severe bilateral ptosis and complete external ophthalmoplegia. Frequent cytochrome c oxidase-negative fibres were detected in muscle. Electrophysiological examination revealed myopathic changes and axonal neuropathy. Standard laboratory tests were normal. Brain CT showed general, moderate cortical atrophy. Molecular analysis of muscle DNA revealed multiple mitochondrial DNA deletions. Sequencing of the entire POLG1 gene revealed two changes c.2993C>T (p.998S>L) and c.3550G>C (p.1184D>H). Both mutations are previously unreported and confirmed to be compound heterozygous. Late-onset progressive external ophthalmoplegia with severe encephalopathy is an unusual combination in patients with POLG1 mutations. POLG-associated disease should be considered in any patient with unexplained or unusual neurological features.
The c.1550 g→t mutation in the POLG gene causing the G517V substitution has been reported by many groups to be associated with a variety of mitochondrial diseases, including autosomal dominant and recessive forms of ataxia neuropathy, myopathy and microcephaly, progressive external ophthalmoplegia, diabetes, strokes, hypotonia, and epilepsy. However, the variable disease presentation and age of onset raises suspicion of its pathogenicity. Because of the varied reported associated symptoms and request from physicians to address the consequence of this mutation, we have carried out the biochemical analysis of the purified recombinant human DNA polymerase γ protein harboring the G517V substitution. These analyses revealed that the G517V mutant enzyme retained 80-90% of wild-type DNA polymerase activity, in addition to its functional interaction with the p55 accessory subunit. DNA binding by the mutant was also only slightly lower than the wild-type enzyme. Our data suggest that the G517V mutation by itself in pol γ most likely does not have a role in mitochondrial disorders.
Mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy (MNGIE) is a devastating autosomal recessive disorder due to mutations in TYMP, which cause loss of function of thymidine phosphorylase (TP), nucleoside accumulation in plasma and tissues and mitochondrial dysfunction. The clinical picture includes progressive gastrointestinal dysmotility, cachexia, ptosis and ophthalmoparesis, peripheral neuropathy and diffuse leukoencephalopathy, which usually lead to death in early adulthood. Therapeutic options are currently available in clinical practice (allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and carrier erythrocyte entrapped TP therapy) and newer, promising therapies are expected in the near future. However, successful treatment is strictly related to early diagnosis. We report on an incomplete MNGIE phenotype in a young man harboring the novel heterozygote c.199 C>T (Q67X) mutation in exon 2, and the previously reported c.866 A>C (E289A) mutation in exon 7 in TYMP. The correct diagnosis was achieved many years after the onset of symptoms and unfortunately, the patient died soon after diagnosis because of multiorgan failure due to severe malnutrition and cachexia before any therapeutic option could be tried. To date, early diagnosis is essential to ensure that patients have the opportunity to be treated. MNGIE should be suspected in all patients who present with both gastrointestinal and nervous system involvement, even if the classical complete phenotype is lacking.
Mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy; Thymidine phosphorylase; TYMP
Myasthenia gravis is a commonly undiagnosed condition in the elderly. Statin medications can cause weakness and are linked to the development and deterioration of several autoimmune conditions, including myasthenia gravis.
We report the case of a 60-year-old Caucasian man who presented with acute onset of dysarthria and dysphagia initially attributed to a brain stem stroke. Oculobulbar and limb weakness progressed until myasthenia gravis was diagnosed and treated, and until statin therapy was finally withdrawn.
Myasthenia gravis may be underappreciated as a cause of acute bulbar weakness among the elderly. Statin therapy appeared to have contributed to the weakness in our patient who was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis.
Adult-onset Alexander disease (AOAD) has been increasingly recognized since the identification of the glial fibrillary acidic protein gene mutation in 2001. We report on a 56-year-old man who was genetically confirmed as AOAD with the glial fibrillary acidic protein mutation of p.M74T. He developed spastic tetraparesis, sensory disturbances in four limbs, and mild cognitive impairment without apparent dysarthria and dysphagia. The case was characterized by severe atrophy of the medulla oblongata and upper cervical cord with intramedullary signal intensity changes on magnetic resonance imaging. While AOAD is diverse in clinical presentation, the peculiar magnetic resonance imaging findings of marked atrophy of the medulla oblongata and cervical cord are thought to be highly suggestive of the diagnosis of AOAD.
Alexander disease; Glial fibrillary acidic protein; Medulla oblongata; MRI; M74T
Alexander disease (ALX) is a rare neurological disorder characterized by white matter degeneration and cytoplasmic inclusions in astrocytes called Rosenthal fibers, labeled by antibodies against glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). Three subtypes are distinguished according to age at onset: infantile (under age 2), juvenile (age 2 to 12) and adult (over age 12). Following the identification of heterozygous mutations in GFAP that cause this disease, cases of adult-onset ALX have been increasingly reported.
We present a 60-year-old Japanese man with an unremarkable past and no family history of ALX. After head trauma in a traffic accident at the age of 46, his character changed, and dementia and dysarthria developed, but he remained independent. Spastic paresis and dysphagia were observed at age 57 and 59, respectively, and worsened progressively. Neurological examination at the age of 60 revealed dementia, pseudobulbar palsy, left-side predominant spastic tetraparesis, axial rigidity, bradykinesia and gaze-evoked nystagmus. Brain MRI showed tadpole-like atrophy of the brainstem, caused by marked atrophy of the medulla oblongata, cervical spinal cord and midbrain tegmentum, with an intact pontine base. Analysis of the GFAP gene revealed a heterozygous missense mutation, c.827G>T, p.R276L, which was already shown to be pathogenic in a case of pathologically proven hereditary adult-onset ALX.
The typical tadpole-like appearance of the brainstem is strongly suggestive of adult-onset ALX, and should lead to a genetic investigation of the GFAP gene. The unusual feature of this patient is the symmetrical involvement of the basal ganglia, which is rarely observed in the adult form of the disease. More patients must be examined to confirm, clinically and neuroradiologically, extrapyramidal involvement of the basal ganglia in adult-onset ALX.
The patient was an 84-year-old woman who had the onset of truncal ataxia at age 77 and a history of Basedow's disease. Her ataxic gait gradually deteriorated. She could not walk without support at age 81 and she was admitted to our hospital at age 83. Gaze-evoked nystagmus and dysarthria were observed. Mild ataxia was observed in all limbs. Her deep tendon reflex and sense of position were normal. IgA anti-gliadin antibody, IgG anti-gliadin antibody, anti-SS-A/Ro antibody, anti-SS-B/La antibody and anti-TPO antibody were positive. A conventional brain MRI did not show obvious cerebellar atrophy. However, MRI voxel based morphometry (VBM) and SPECT-eZIS revealed cortical cerebellar atrophy and reduced cerebellar blood flow. IVIg treatment was performed and was moderately effective. After her death at age 85, the patient was autopsied. Neuropathological findings were as follows: selective loss of Purkinje cells; no apparent degenerative change in the efferent pathways, such as the dentate nuclei or vestibular nuclei; no prominent inflammatory reaction. From these findings, we diagnosed this case as autoimmune cerebellar atrophy associated with gluten ataxia. All 3 autopsies previously reported on gluten ataxia have noted infiltration of inflammatory cells in the cerebellum.
In this case, we postulated that the infiltration of inflammatory cells was not found because the patient's condition was based on humoral immunity. The clinical conditions of gluten ataxia have not yet been properly elucidated, but are expected to be revealed as the number of autopsied cases increases.
Neuroferritinopathy is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder that includes a movement disorder, cognitive decline, and characteristic findings on brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) due to abnormal iron deposition. Here, we present a late-onset case, along with diffusion tensor imaging (DTI).
We report the case of a 74-year-old Caucasian female with no significant past medical history who presented for evaluation of orofacial dyskinesia, suspected to be edentulous dyskinesia given her history of ill-fitting dentures. She had also developed slowly progressive dysarthria, dysphagia, visual hallucinations as well as stereotypic movements of her hands and feet.
The eye-of-the-tiger sign was demonstrated on T2 MRI. Increased fractional anisotropy and T2 hypointensity were observed in the periphery of the globus pallidus, putamen, substantia nigra, and dentate nucleus. T2 hyperintensity was present in the medial dentate nucleus and central globus pallidus.
The pallidal MRI findings were more typical of pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration (PKAN), but given additional dentate and putamenal involvement, lack of retinopathy, and advanced age of onset, PKAN was less likely. Although the patient's ferritin levels were within low normal range, her clinical and imaging features led to a diagnosis of neuroferritinopathy.
Neurodegeneration with brain iron accumulation (NBIA) is a rare cause of orofacial dyskinesia. DTI MRI can confirm abnormal iron deposition. The location of abnormal iron deposits helps in differentiating NBIA subtypes. Degeneration of the dentate and globus pallidus may occur via an analogous process given their similar T2 and DTI MRI appearance.
Neurodegeneration with brain iron accumulation; Neuroferritinopathy; Diffusion tensor imaging; Hyperkinetic movement disorders
Dysphagia is a common clinical symptom for an ENT surgeon in his clinic, evaluation of which may not be a great challenge. The objective of this article is to report a rare cause of dysphagia which may be difficult to diagnose unless specifically thought of. This is a report of a case of dysphagia secondary to myasthenia gravis seen in a young lady along with tongue fasciculation in an early onset case unlike the ones reported in the literature where the patients are elderly and more often males in the late phase of the disease. At times, dysphagia may be seen secondary to some rare causes and may mislead the doctor. A carefully taken history and methodical clinical examination will avoid unnecessary invasive procedures and delay in the diagnosis.
Dysphagia; Myasthenia gravis; Tongue fasciculation
We investigated the presence of mutations in the pantothenate kinase (PANK2) gene in a 27-year-old male Chinese patient with atypical pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration (PKAN), formerly Hallervorden-Spatz syndrome. Automated DNA sequence analyses revealed compound heterozygous mutations in the exon 3 and 5. This patient had a 10-year history of PKAN characterized by a slight tremor of the right hand when writing at onset and a slow progressive rigidity of the neck and the right arm and resting tremor in upper extremities. Dysarthria, dysphagia, and dystonic-athetoid movements of the face and right fingers were marked. Magnetic resonance showed the typical “eye-of-the-tiger” sign.
PANK2 gene; pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration; PKAN; Hallervorden-Spatz syndrome; neurodegeneration; magnetic resonance imaging
Mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy (MNGIE) is an autosomal recessive disorder caused by loss-of-function mutations in the gene encoding thymidine phosphorylase (TP). This deficiency of TP leads to increased circulating levels of thymidine (deoxythymidine, dThd) and deoxyuridine (dUrd) and has been associated with multiple deletions and depletion of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Here we describe 36 point mutations in mtDNA of tissues and cultured cells from MNGIE patients. Thirty-one mtDNA point mutations (86%) were T-to-C transitions, and of these, 25 were preceded by 5′-AA sequences. In addition, we identified a single base-pair mtDNA deletion and a TT-to-AA mutation. Next-nucleotide effects and dislocation mutagenesis may contribute to the formation of these mutations. These results provide the first demonstration that alterations of nucleoside metabolism can induce multiple sequence-specific point mutations in humans. We hypothesize that, in patients with TP deficiency, increased levels of dThd and dUrd cause mitochondrial nucleotide pool imbalances, which, in turn, lead to mtDNA abnormalities including site-specific point mutations.