Mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy and thymidine metabolism: results and hypotheses.

Mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy (MNGIE) is an autosomal recessive disease with mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) alterations and is caused by mutations in the nuclear gene encoding thymidine phosphorylase (TP). The cardinal clinical manifestations are ptosis, ophthalmoparesis, gastrointestinal dysmotility, cachexia, peripheral neuropathy, and leukoencephalopathy. Skeletal muscle shows mitochondrial abnormalities, including ragged-red fibers and cytochrome c oxidase deficiency, together with mtDNA depletion, multiple deletions or both. In MNGIE patients, TP mutations cause a loss-of-function of the cytosolic enzyme, TP. As a direct consequence of the TP defect, thymidine metabolism is altered. High blood levels of this nucleoside are likely to lead to mtDNA defects even in cells that do not express TP, such as skeletal muscle. We hypothesize that high concentrations of thymidine affect dNTP (deoxyribonucleoside triphosphate) metabolism in mitochondria more than in cytosol or nuclei, because mitochondrial dNTPs depend mainly on the thymidine salvage pathway, whereas nuclear dNTPs depend mostly on de novo pathway. The imbalance in the mitochondrial dNTP homeostasis affects mtDNA replication, leading to mitochondrial dysfunction.
AuthorsRamon Marti, Antonella Spinazzola, Ichizo Nishino, Antonio L Andreu, Ali Naini, Saba Tadesse, Juan A Oliver, Michio Hirano
JournalMitochondrion (Mitochondrion) Vol. 2 Issue 1-2 Pg. 143-7 (Nov 2002) ISSN: 1567-7249 [Print] Netherlands
PMID16120316 (Publication Type: Journal Article)

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