Movement disorders are increasingly being recognized as a manifestation of childhood-onset mitochondrial diseases (MDs). However, the spectrum and characteristics of these conditions have not been studied in detail in the context of a well-defined cohort of patients. We retrospectively explored a cohort of individuals with childhood-onset MDs querying the Nationwide Italian Collaborative Network of Mitochondrial Diseases database. Using a customized online questionnaire, we attempted to collect data from the subgroup of patients with movement disorders. Complete information was available for 102 patients. Movement disorder was the presenting feature of MD in 45 individuals, with a mean age at onset of 11 years. Ataxia was the most common movement disorder at onset, followed by dystonia, tremor, hypokinetic disorders, chorea, and myoclonus. During the disease course, most patients (67.7%) encountered a worsening of their movement disorder. Basal ganglia involvement, cerebral white matter changes, and cerebellar atrophy were the most commonly associated neuroradiological patterns. Forty-one patients harbored point mutations in the mitochondrial DNA, 10 carried mitochondrial DNA rearrangements, and 41 cases presented mutations in nuclear-DNA-encoded genes, the latter being associated with an earlier onset and a higher impairment in activities of daily living. Among our patients, 32 individuals received pharmacological treatment; clonazepam and oral baclofen were the most commonly used drugs, whereas levodopa and intrathecal baclofen administration were the most effective. A better delineation of the movement disorders phenotypes starting in childhood may improve our diagnostic workup in MDs, fine tuning management, and treatment of affected patients.
- Childhood onset
- Mitochondrial disease
- Movement disorder
- Multicenter cross-sectional study
ASJC Scopus subject areas