Inherited ophthalmoplegia with intestinal pseudo-obstruction

V. Ionasescu, S. H. Thompson, R. Ionasescu, Ch Searby, S. Anuras, J. Christensen, F. Mitros, M. Hart, P. Bosch

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36 Scopus citations


A new inherited neuromuscular disease was identified in 4 patients (1 male, 3 females), offspring of consanguineous marriages, belonging to the same kindred. The proband was a 24-year-old female with history of ptosis and ophthalmoplegia since childhood and progressive intestinal pseudo-obstruction for the last 4 years of her life. A sural nerve biopsy showed axonal and demyelinating neuropathy. Muscle biopsies of pectoral and gastrocnemius revealed myopathic alterations with marked variation in muscle fiber size, atrophy of both fiber types and normal mitochondria. An upper gastrointestinal study showed barium in the stomach after 8 h and jejunal diverticula. Tests for absorption of fat, protein, carbohydrate, folic acid and vitamin B12 were normal. Serum levels of vitamin A and lipoproteins were also normal. The patient underwent partial gastrectomy and gastrojejunostomy. Postoperatively, she developed severe pancreatitis, sepsis, peritonitis and expired. Tissue samples from the proband and from her brother, revealed normal mucosa, but degeneration of smooth muscle of the stomach and small intestine. The myenteric plexus and vagus nerves were normal. The biochemical studies of contractile proteins (myosin, actin, tropomyosin) in the fresh and cultured smooth muscle cells of the proband obtained at the time of gastrectomy showed a 50-75% decrease in the synthesis of different contractile proteins. Turnover of contractile proteins and synthesis and turnover of collagen showed normal values. The reduction in synthesis of contractile proteins may account for the weak peristalsis and be a factor in the pathogenesis of the intestinal pseudo-obstruction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-228
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the neurological sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1983


  • Collagen
  • Intestinal pseudo-obstruction
  • Ophthalmoplegia
  • Synthesis of contractile proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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