Adult-onset mitochondrial movement disorders: a national picture from the Italian Network

V. Montano, D. Orsucci, V. Carelli, C. la Morgia, M. L. Valentino, C. Lamperti, S. Marchet, O. Musumeci, A. Toscano, G. Primiano, F. M. Santorelli, C. Ticci, M. Filosto, A. Rubegni, T. Mongini, P. Tonin, S. Servidei, R. Ceravolo, G. Siciliano, Michelangelo Mancuso

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INTRODUCTION: Both prevalence and clinical features of the various movement disorders in adults with primary mitochondrial diseases are unknown. METHODS: Based on the database of the "Nation-wide Italian Collaborative Network of Mitochondrial Diseases", we reviewed the clinical, genetic, neuroimaging and neurophysiological data of adult patients with primary mitochondrial diseases (n = 764) where ataxia, myoclonus or other movement disorders were part of the clinical phenotype. RESULTS: Ataxia, myoclonus and movement disorders were present in 105/764 adults (13.7%), with the onset coinciding or preceding the diagnosis of the mitochondrial disease in 49/105 (46.7%). Ataxia and parkinsonism were the most represented, with an overall prevalence at last follow-up of 59.1% and 30.5%, respectively. Hyperkinetic movement disorders were reported in 15.3% at last follow-up, being the less common reported movement disorders. The pathogenic m.8344A > G and POLG variants were always associated with a movement disorder, while LHON variants and mtDNA single deletions were more commonly found in the subjects who did not present a movement disorder. The most common neuroimaging features were cortical and/or cerebellar atrophy, white matter hyperintensities, basal ganglia abnormalities and nigro-striatal degeneration. Almost 70% of patients with parkinsonism responded to dopaminergic therapy, mainly levodopa, and 50% with myoclonus were successfully treated with levetiracetam. CONCLUSION: Movement disorders, mainly ataxia and parkinsonism, are important findings in adult primary mitochondrial diseases. This study underlies the importance of looking for a mitochondrial etiology in the diagnostic flowchart of a movement disorder and may help direct genetic screening in daily practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1413-1421
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neurology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes

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