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Kulessa, M.; Weyer-Menkhoff, I; Viergutz, L.; Kornblum, C.; Claeys, K. G.; Schneider, I; Ploeckinger, U.; Young, P.; Boentert, M.; Vielhaber, S.; Mawrin, C.; Bergmann, M.; Weis, J.; Ziagaki, A.; Stenzel, W.; Deschauer, M.; Nolte, D.; Hahn, A.; Schoser, B.; Schaenzer, A. (2019): An integrative correlation of myopathology, phenotype and genotype in late onset Pompe disease. In: Neuropathology and Applied Neurobiology, Vol. 46, No. 4: pp. 359-374
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Abstract

Aims Pompe disease is caused by pathogenic mutations in the alpha 1,4-glucosidase (GAA) gene and in patients with late onset Pome disease (LOPD), genotype-phenotype correlations are unpredictable. Skeletal muscle pathology includes glycogen accumulation and altered autophagy of various degrees. A correlation of the muscle morphology with clinical features and the genetic background in GAA may contribute to the understanding of the phenotypic variability. Methods Muscle biopsies taken before enzyme replacement therapy were analysed from 53 patients with LOPD. On resin sections, glycogen accumulation, fibrosis, autophagic vacuoles and the degree of muscle damage (morphology-score) were analysed and the results were compared with clinical findings. Additional autophagy markers microtubule-associated protein 1A/1B-light chain 3, p62 and Bcl2-associated athanogene 3 were analysed on cryosections from 22 LOPD biopsies. Results The myopathology showed a high variability with, in most patients, a moderate glycogen accumulation and a low morphology-score. High morphology-scores were associated with increased fibrosis and autophagy highlighting the role of autophagy in severe stages of skeletal muscle damage. The morphology-score did not correlate with the patient's age at biopsy, disease duration, nor with the residual GAA enzyme activity or creatine-kinase levels. In 37 patients with LOPD, genetic analysis identified the most frequent mutation, c.-32-13T>G, in 95%, most commonly in combination with c.525delT (19%). No significant correlation was found between the different GAA genotypes and muscle morphology type. Conclusions Muscle morphology in LOPD patients shows a high variability with, in most cases, moderate pathology. Increased pathology is associated with more fibrosis and autophagy.