Alpers-Huttenlocher Syndrome First Presented with Hepatic Failure: Can Liver Transplantation Be Considered as Treatment Option?

Pediatr Gastroenterol Hepatol Nutr. 2017 Dec;20(4):259-262. doi: 10.5223/pghn.2017.20.4.259. Epub 2017 Dec 22.


Mitochondria play essential role in eukaryotic cells including in the oxidative phosphorylation and generation of adenosine triphosphate via the electron-transport chain. Therefore, defects in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) can result in mitochondrial dysfunction which leads to various mitochondrial disorders that may present with various neurologic and non-neurologic manifestations. Mutations in the nuclear gene polymerase gamma (POLG) are associated with mtDNA depletions, and Alpers-Huttenlocher syndrome is one of the most severe manifestations of POLG mutation characterized by the clinical triad of intractable seizures, psychomotor regression, and liver failure. The hepatic manifestation usually occurs late in the disease's course, but in some references, hepatitis was reportedly the first manifestation. Liver transplantation was considered contraindicated in Alpers-Huttenlocher syndrome due to its poor prognosis. We acknowledged a patient with the first manifestation of the disease being hepatic failure who eventually underwent liver transplantation, and whose neurological outcome improved after cocktail therapy.

Keywords: Alpers-Huttenlocher syndrome; Liver failure.

Publication types

  • Case Reports