Mitochondrial Chronic Progressive External Ophthalmoplegia

Brain Sci. 2024 Jan 27;14(2):135. doi: 10.3390/brainsci14020135.


Background: Chronic progressive external ophthalmoplegia (CPEO) is a rare disorder that can be at the forefront of several mitochondrial diseases. This review overviews mitochondrial CPEO encephalomyopathies to enhance accurate recognition and diagnosis for proper management.

Methods: This study is conducted based on publications and guidelines obtained by selective review in PubMed. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials, Cochrane reviews, and literature meta-analyses were particularly sought.

Discussion: CPEO is a common presentation of mitochondrial encephalomyopathies, which can result from alterations in mitochondrial or nuclear DNA. Genetic sequencing is the gold standard for diagnosing mitochondrial encephalomyopathies, preceded by non-invasive tests such as fibroblast growth factor-21 and growth differentiation factor-15. More invasive options include a muscle biopsy, which can be carried out after uncertain diagnostic testing. No definitive treatment option is available for mitochondrial diseases, and management is mainly focused on lifestyle risk modification and supplementation to reduce mitochondrial load and symptomatic relief, such as ptosis repair in the case of CPEO. Nevertheless, various clinical trials and endeavors are still at large for achieving beneficial therapeutic outcomes for mitochondrial encephalomyopathies.

Key messages: Understanding the varying presentations and genetic aspects of mitochondrial CPEO is crucial for accurate diagnosis and management.

Keywords: CPEO; chronic progressive external ophthalmoplegia; mitochondrial diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.