External Ophthalmoplegia, C10ORF2 and mtDNA Mutations

Clinical Characteristics
Ocular Features: 

Ptosis and external ophthalmoplegia are found in almost all patients.  These have a variable onset with some patients not symptomatic until midlife or later.  External ophthalmoplegia may be the only symptom.  Onset in late adolescence has also been reported.  Cataracts often occur.

Systemic Features: 

About half (52%) of patients have fatigue and weakness.  Ataxia and peripheral neuropathy with paresthesias are sometimes present. Some patients report bulbar symptoms of dysphagia, dysarthria and dysphonia.  Skeletal muscle biopsies show typical ragged red fibers and evidence of mitochondrial dysfunction with cytochrome c oxidase (COX) deficiency.  Late onset of typical features of parkinsonism including a resting tremor, rigidity, and bradykinesia is seen in some patients.  Several individuals have reported major depression and/or bipolar disorder. Myopathy (33%) with muscle wasting and respiratory difficulties can occur.   As many as 24% of patients have cardiac abnormalities consisting primarily of conduction defects.


This an autosomal dominant disorder secondary to mutations in the C10ORF2 (Twinkle) gene (10q24) in association with mitochondrial DNA depletion.  It accounts for approximately 35% of autosomal dominant cases of external ophthalmoplegia.

At least two additional mutations cause similar external ophthalmoplegia syndromes: PEOA1 (157640, 258450), and PEOA2 (609283).

The same gene may have mutations that are responsible for spinocerebellar ataxia, infantile-onset (271245), a more generalized and progressive neurodegenerative disease transmitted in an autosomal recessive pattern.

Autosomal dominant
Treatment Options: 

No effective treatment is known.

Article Title: 

The clinical, histochemical, and molecular spectrum of PEO1(Twinkle)-linked adPEO

Fratter C, Gorman GS, Stewart JD, Buddles M, Smith C, Evans J, Seller A, Poulton J, Roberts M, Hanna MG, Rahman S, Omer SE, Klopstock T, Schoser B, Kornblum C, Czermin B, Lecky B, Blakely EL, Craig K, Chinnery PF, Turnbull DM, Horvath R, Taylor RW. The clinical, histochemical, and molecular spectrum of PEO1(Twinkle)-linked adPEO. Neurology. 2010 May 18;74(20):1619-26.

PubMed ID: 
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