Background: Mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy (MNGIE) is a progressive autosomal recessive disorder characterized by cachexia, gastrointestinal (GI) dysmotility, ptosis, peripheral neuropathy, and brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) white matter changes. Bi-allelic TYMP mutations lead to deficient thymidine phosphorylase (TP) activity, toxic accumulation of plasma nucleosides (thymidine and deoxyuridine), nucleotide pool imbalances, and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) instability. Death is mainly due to GI complications: intestinal perforation, peritonitis, and/or liver failure. Based on our previous observations in three patients with MNGIE that platelet infusions resulted in a transient 40% reduction of plasma nucleoside levels, in 2005 we performed the first hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) worldwide as a life-long source of TP in a patient with MNGIE. Procedure: HSCT was performed in a total of six patients with MNGIE. The multiple factors involved in the prognosis of this cohort were analyzed and compared to the literature experience. Results: Cell source was bone marrow in five patients and peripheral stem cells in one, all from fully human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-matched related donors, including four who were TYMP mutation carriers. Four of six (66%) survived compared to the 37% survival rate in the literature. Reduced intensity conditioning regimen contributed to secondary graft failure in two patients. Fifteen years post HSCT, the first transplanted patient is seemingly cured. Severe GI symptoms before transplantation were mostly irreversible and were poor prognostic factors. Conclusions: Allogenic HSCT could constitute a curative therapeutic option for carefully selected, young, presymptomatic, or mildly affected patients. Timing, donor selection, and optimal conditioning protocol are major determinants of outcome. HSCT is inadvisable in patients with advanced MNGIE disease.
- hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
- mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalopathy