Alpers-Huttenlocher syndrome (AHS) is a very rare autosomal recessive disorder. AHS is caused by homozygous or compound heterozygous mutations in the nuclear gene encoding mitochondrial DNA polymerase gamma (POLG, chromosome 15q25). Most patients become symptomatic before the age of 2 years. We report 3 patients who were treated in our clinic between 2007 and 2010. All patients suffered from myoclonic seizures and had at least one refractory convulsive status which led to the diagnosis. All of them had varying degrees of developmental delay, 2 of them additionally ataxia. Gastrointestinal motility problems were severe in all patients despite only mildly deranged liver function. While in most aspects our patients present with typical AHS features, they also share intestinal problems, a feature that has not been recognized as typical for AHS before. AHS is a multisystem disorder that does affect all cell systems. Liver and brain are organs with the highest energy demand and are therefore usually affected early in the disease course of AHS. However, constipation and bowel obstruction should be regarded as typical complications in AHS and patients should be monitored and treated to improve quality of life. Regarding treatment options for epilepsy in AHS ketogenic diet as well as lacosamide might be considered.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)