Introduction: Neurological disorders with low tissue coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) levels are important to identify, as they may be treatable.
Methods: We evaluated retrospectively clinical, laboratory, and muscle histochemistry and oxidative enzyme characteristics in 49 children with suspected mitochondrial disorders. We compared 18 with CoQ10 deficiency in muscle to 31 with normal CoQ10 values.
Results: Muscle from CoQ10-deficient patients averaged 5.5-fold more frequent type 2C muscle fibers than controls (P < 0.0001). A type 2C fiber frequency of ≥ 5% had 89% sensitivity and 84% specificity for CoQ10 deficiency in this cohort. No biopsy showed active myopathy. There were no differences between groups in frequencies of mitochondrial myopathologic, clinical, or laboratory features. Multiple abnormalities in muscle oxidative enzyme activities were more frequent in CoQ10-deficient patients than in controls.
Conclusions: When a childhood mitochondrial disorder is suspected, an increased frequency of type 2C fibers in morphologically normal muscle suggests CoQ10 deficiency.
Keywords: coenzyme Q10 deficiency; developmental delay; mitochondrial disorders; muscle pathology; pediatric neurology; type 2C fibers.
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