New Insights into Gastrointestinal Involvement in Late-Onset Pompe Disease: Lessons Learned from Bench and Bedside.

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There are new emerging phenotypes in Pompe disease, and studies on smooth muscle pathology are limited. Gastrointestinal (GI) manifestations are poorly understood and underreported in Pompe disease.


To understand the extent and the effects of enzyme replacement therapy (ERT; alglucosidase alfa) in Pompe disease, we studied the histopathology (entire GI tract) in Pompe mice (GAAKO 6neo/6neo). To determine the disease burden in patients with late-onset Pompe disease (LOPD), we used Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurements Information System (PROMIS)-GI symptom scales and a GI-focused medical history.


Pompe mice showed early, extensive, and progressive glycogen accumulation throughout the GI tract. Long-term ERT (6 months) was more effective to clear the glycogen accumulation than short-term ERT (5 weeks). GI manifestations were highly prevalent and severe, presented early in life, and were not fully amenable to ERT in patients with LOPD (n = 58; age range: 18-79 years, median age: 51.55 years; 35 females; 53 on ERT).


GI manifestations cause a significant disease burden on adults with LOPD, and should be evaluated during routine clinical visits, using quantitative tools (PROMIS-GI measures). The study also highlights the need for next generation therapies for Pompe disease that target the smooth muscles.





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Korlimarla, Aditi, Jeong-A Lim, Paul McIntosh, Kanecia Zimmerman, Baodong D Sun and Priya S Kishnani (2021). New Insights into Gastrointestinal Involvement in Late-Onset Pompe Disease: Lessons Learned from Bench and Bedside. Journal of clinical medicine, 10(15). pp. 3395–3395. 10.3390/jcm10153395 Retrieved from

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Kanecia Obie Zimmerman

Wilburt C. Davison Distinguished Professor

Baodong Sun

Associate Professor in Pediatrics

My overall research interests are finding effective treatment for human glycogen storage diseases (GSDs) and other inherited metabolic disorders. My current research focuses on identification of novel therapeutic targets and development of effective therapies for GSD II (Pompe disease), GSD III (Cori disease), and GSD IV (Andersen disease) using cellular and animal disease models. The main therapeutic approaches we are using in our pre-clinical studies include protein/enzyme therapy, AAV-mediated gene therapy, and substrate reduction therapy with small molecule drugs.


Priya Sunil Kishnani

Chen Family Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics


A multidisciplinary approach to care of individuals with genetic disorders in conjunction with clinical and bench research that contributes to:
1) An understanding of the natural history and delineation of long term complications of genetic disorders  with a special focus on liver Glycogen storage disorders, lysosomal disorders with a special focus on Pompe disease, Down syndrome and hypophosphatasia
2) ) The development of new therapies such as AAV gene therapy, enzyme therapy, small molecule and other approaches for genetic disorders through translational research

3) The development and execution of large multicenter trials to confirm safety and efficacy of potential therapies
4) Role of antibodies/immune response in patients on therapeutic proteins and AAV gene therapy

. Glycogen Storage Disease (GSD): We are actively following subjects with all types of Glycogen Storage Disease, with particular emphasis on types I, II, III, IV, VI and IX. The goal of the treatment team is to better determine the clinical phenotype and long term complications of these diseases. Attention to disease manifestations observed in adulthood, such as adenomas and risk for HCC, is of paramount importance in monitoring and treating these chronic illnesses. We are establishing clinical algorithms for managing adenomas, and the overall management of these patients including cardiac, bone, muscle and liver issues. A special focus is biomarker discovery, an Omics approach including metabolomics and immune phenotyping. We are working on AAV gene therapy for several hepatic GSDs

.Lysosomal Storage Disease: The Duke Lysosomal Storage Disease (LSD) treatment center follows and treats patients with Pompe, Gaucher, Fabry, Mucopolysaccharidosis, Niemann Pick, LAL-D and other LSD's. The Duke Metabolism Clinical Research Team is exploring many aspects of enzyme replacement therapy (ERT), including impact on different systems, differential response, and long term effects. Other symptomatic and treatment interventions for this category of diseases are also being explored in the context of clinical care.

. Pompe Disease: The care team has extensive experience in the care of infants and adults with Pompe disease and was instrumental in conducting clinical trials and the bench to bedside work that led to the 2006 FDA approval of alglucosidase alfa, the first treatment for this devastating disease. We are currently focusing on role of antibodies/immune response on patient outcome and role of immune modulation/immune suppression as an adjunct to ERT. Our team is also working on AAV gene therapy for Pompe disease. A focus is on newborn screening (NBS) and understanding the clinical phenotype and management approaches for babies identified via NBS

.  Hypophosphatasia: We follow a large cohort of patients with HPP. The goal is to understand the features of the disease beyond bone disease, development of biomarkers, role of ERT and immune responses in HPP

. Neuromuscular disorders: We are collaborating with neurologists, cardiologists and neuromuscular physicians to serve as a treatment site for clinical trials in these diseases. We are currently involved in trials of DMD and are working closely on setting up collaborations for studies in SMA.

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