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CONTINUUM: Lifelong Learning in Neurology:
doi: 10.1212/CON.0000000000000403
Review Articles

Metabolic Myopathies

Tarnopolsky, Mark A. MD, PhD

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Abstract

ABSTRACT: Purpose of Review: Metabolic myopathies are genetic disorders that impair intermediary metabolism in skeletal muscle. Impairments in glycolysis/glycogenolysis (glycogen-storage disease), fatty acid transport and oxidation (fatty acid oxidation defects), and the mitochondrial respiratory chain (mitochondrial myopathies) represent the majority of known defects. The purpose of this review is to develop a diagnostic and treatment algorithm for the metabolic myopathies.

Recent Findings: The metabolic myopathies can present in the neonatal and infant period as part of more systemic involvement with hypotonia, hypoglycemia, and encephalopathy; however, most cases present in childhood or in adulthood with exercise intolerance (often with rhabdomyolysis) and weakness. The glycogen-storage diseases present during brief bouts of high-intensity exercise, whereas fatty acid oxidation defects and mitochondrial myopathies present during a long-duration/low-intensity endurance-type activity or during fasting or another metabolically stressful event (eg, surgery, fever). The clinical examination is often normal between acute events, and evaluation involves exercise testing, blood testing (creatine kinase, acylcarnitine profile, lactate, amino acids), urine organic acids (ketones, dicarboxylic acids, 3-methylglutaconic acid), muscle biopsy (histology, ultrastructure, enzyme testing), MRI/spectroscopy, and targeted or untargeted genetic testing.

Summary: Accurate and early identification of metabolic myopathies can lead to therapeutic interventions with lifestyle and nutritional modification, cofactor treatment, and rapid treatment of rhabdomyolysis.

© 2016 American Academy of Neurology

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