A 16-year-old girl presented with early-onset cerebellar ataxia, myoclonus, elevated lactic acidosis and hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. Muscle biopsy specimens revealed fibres with a "ragged" appearance with increased mitochondria and lipid droplets. Biochemical investigation revealed a deficiency of complex bc1 (complex III) of the mitochondrial respiratory chain. Genetic analysis did not show either deletions or known mutations of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy (31P-MRS) showed defective energy metabolism in brain and gastrocnemius muscle. A decreased phosphocreatine (PCr) content was found in the occipital lobes accompanied by normal inorganic phosphate (Pi) and cytosolic pH. These findings represented evidence of a high cytosolic adenosine diphosphate concentration and a relatively high rate of metabolism accompanied by a low phosphorylation potential. Muscle31P-MRS showed a high Pi content at rest, abnormal exercise transfer pattern and a low rate of PCr post-exercise recovery. These findings suggested a deficit of mitochondrial function. Therapy with vitamins K3 and C normalized brain31P-MRS indices, whereas it did not affect muscle bioenergetic metabolism. In this patient, the endocrinological disorder is putatively due to a mitochondrial cytopathy. Although an unknown mtDNA mutation cannot be ruled out, the genetic defect may lie in the nuclear genome.
- P-MR spectroscopy
- Early-onset cerebellar ataxia
- Hypogonadotropic hypogonadism
- Mitochondrial complex III deficiency
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology