Objectives: To describe the spectrum of movement disorders and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) neurotransmitter profiles in paediatric patients with POLG disease.
Methods: We identified children with genetically confirmed POLG disease, in whom CSF neurotransmitter analysis had been undertaken. Clinical data were collected retrospectively. CSF neurotransmitter levels were compared to both standardised age-related reference ranges and to non-POLG patients presenting with status epilepticus.
Results: Forty-one patients with POLG disease were identified. Almost 50% of the patients had documented evidence of a movement disorder, including non-epileptic myoclonus, choreoathetosis and ataxia. CSF neurotransmitter analysis was undertaken in 15 cases and abnormalities were seen in the majority (87%) of cases tested. In many patients, distinctive patterns were evident, including raised neopterin, homovanillic acid and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid levels.
Conclusions: Children with POLG mutations can manifest with a wide spectrum of abnormal movements, which are often prominent features of the clinical syndrome. Underlying pathophysiology is probably multifactorial, and aberrant monoamine metabolism is likely to play a role.