Mitochondrial neuro-gastro-intestinal encephalomyopathy (MNGIE) is a rare and unavoidably fatal disease due to mutations in thymidine phosphorylase (TP). Clinically it is characterized by gastrointestinal dysfunction, malnutrition/cachexia and neurological manifestations. MNGIE diagnosis remains a challenge mainly because of the complexity and rarity of the disease. Thus, our purposes were to promote a better knowledge of the disease in Emilia-Romagna region (ERR) by creating an accurate and dedicated network; to establish the minimal prevalence of MNGIE in Italy starting from ERR. Blood TP activity level was used as screening test to direct candidates to complete diagnostic work-up. During the study period of 1 year, only 10/71 units of ERR recruited 14 candidates. Their screening did not show TP activity changes. An Italian patient not resident in ERR was actually proved to have MNGIE. At the end of study in Italy there were nine cases of MNGIE; thus, the Italian prevalence of the disease is ~0.15/1,000,000 as a gross estimation. Our study confirms that MNGIE diagnosis is a difficult process which reflects the rarity of the disease and, as a result, a low level of awareness among specialists and physicians. Having available novel therapeutic options (e.g., allogenic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and, more recently, liver transplantation) and an easy screening test, an early diagnosis should be sought before tissue damage occurs irreversibly.
- Allogenic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
- Mitochondrial neuro-gastro-intestinal encephalomyopathy
- Orthotopic liver transplantation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Psychiatry and Mental health