Abnormalities in gastrointestinal motility are associated with diseases of oxidative phosphorylation in children

Am J Gastroenterol. 2003 Apr;98(4):871-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1572-0241.2003.07385.x.


Objective: Disorders of the mitochondrial electron transport chain enzymes of oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) have neurologic, musculoskeletal, ophthalmologic, cardiac, and GI manifestations. Many adult and pediatric patients with disorders of OXPHOS have abnormalities in intestinal motility. The purpose of this study was to describe pediatric patients who initially presented with signs of GI dysmotility and were later evaluated and found to have a disorder of OXPHOS.

Methods: Data were collected on six patients, including initial GI and neurologic symptoms, histology of skeletal muscle biopsies, mitochondrial DNA mutational analysis, OXPHOS enzyme assay, upper GI barium imaging, technetium-99M liquid gastric emptying scan, upper GI endoscopy, esophageal manometry, and antroduodenal manometry.

Results: All six children presented with symptoms of GI dysmotility within 2 wk of life. Patients later developed symptoms of neurologic disorders. All patients had abnormalities in OXPHOS enzyme analysis. Muscle histology showed nonspecific changes with no ragged red fibers. Sequencing of the mitochondrial DNA showed no recognized mutations. No patient had any evidence of intestinal obstruction or malrotation by upper GI barium imaging. Four patients had delayed gastric emptying. Three patients had endoscopic and histologic evidence of esophagitis. All six had demonstrable neuropathic abnormalities by antroduodenal manometry, including the following: nonpropagated antral bursts, absent migrating motor complexes, postprandial antral hypomotility, retrograde migrating motor complexes, and tonic contractions with the migrating motor complex.

Conclusions: Abnormalities in GI motility may be an early presenting sign of disorders of OXPHOS in children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Motility / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Mitochondrial Diseases / complications*
  • Mitochondrial Diseases / diagnosis
  • Mitochondrial Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Retrospective Studies