A family with paroxysmal nonkinesigenic dyskinesias (PNKD): Evidence of mitochondrial dysfunction

Daniele Ghezzi, Carlotta Canavese, Gordana Kovacevic, Dragan Zamurovic, Chiara Barzaghi, Carlotta Giorgi, Giovanna Zorzi, Massimo Zeviani, Paolo Pinton, Barbara Garavaglia, Nardo Nardocci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction Paroxysmal nonkinesigenic dyskinesia (PNKD) is a rare movement disorder characterized by sudden attacks of involuntary movements. Familial PNKD is an autosomal dominant trait, caused by mutations in the myofibrillogenesis regulator 1 (MR-1) gene on chromosome 2q35. Three different mutations have been described; all of them reside in the N-terminal region common to isoforms L and S, that has been suggested to code for a mitochondrial targeting sequence, necessary for the correct sub-cellular localization of the protein into mitochondria.

Methods We report on four patients of the same family, affected by PNKD. Skin fibroblasts were used to analysed oxygen consumption and to measure mitochondrial matrix calcium response after agonist stimulation. Mitotracker-based visualization was also used to assess fragmentation of the mitochondrial network.

Results the paroxysmal movements were dystonic in two patients and dystonic/choreiform in the other ones; in three cases the symptoms started in one limb and then generalized, while in one case remained focal. Three had a very early onset, within the first two years of life. The frequency of episodes showed a great variability, ranging from 2 times a day to 3 times a year, while the duration of the attacks ranged from 2 min to 1,5 h, always with sudden onset and end and complete recover in between. All affected subjects harbored a heterozygous C to T substitution in MR-1, causing an Ala9Val amino acid change in the N-terminal region. A significant reduction of oxygen consumption and altered calcium homeostasis were found in mutant fibroblasts compared to controls, while no difference was detected in mitochondrial network.

Conclusions The data on reduced oxygen consumption and altered calcium homeostasis obtained on mutant fibroblasts are the first evidences, in physiological conditions, of a mitochondrial dysfunction in PNKD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-68
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Paediatric Neurology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2015


  • dyskinesias
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction
  • Paroxysmal nonkinesigenic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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