Mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalopathy (MNGIE), usually an autosomal-recessive inherited condition, causes gastrointestinal dysmotility, ophthalmoplegia, ptosis, leukoencephalopathy and neuropathy. The chromosome 22 disorder, due to mutations in the nuclear gene TYMP encoding thymidine phosphorylase (TP), leads to the accumulation of thymidine and deoxyuridine, with mitochondrial dysfunction.
This report describes a patient with an MNGIE-like syndrome with a heterozygous TYMP mutation who showed marked, but transient improvement postallogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT).
The patient, showing ptosis and ophthalmoplegia, was initially managed for myasthenia gravis. She developed gastrointestinal symptoms, dysarthria, dysphagia and weakness, and MNGIE was considered due to its low TP levels and improvement after platelet transfusions. She underwent HSCT, with dramatic improvement, but regressed 18 months later despite normal TP levels, platelet counts and full chimerism.
MNGIE may encompass a spectrum of disorders. TP deficiency alone is unlikely to explain all clinical signs, and other factors, including the possible development of anti-TP antibodies, which may play a role in the pathophysiology.