Skeletal muscle pathology of infantile Pompe disease during long-term enzyme replacement therapy.


BACKGROUND: Pompe disease is an autosomal recessive metabolic neuromuscular disorder caused by a deficiency of the lysosomal enzyme acid alpha-glucosidase (GAA). It has long been believed that the underlying pathology leading to tissue damage is caused by the enlargement and rupture of glycogen-filled lysosomes. Recent studies have also implicated autophagy, an intracellular lysosome-dependent degradation system, in the disease pathogenesis. In this study, we characterize the long-term impact of enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) with recombinant human GAA (rhGAA) on lysosomal glycogen accumulation and autophagy in some of the oldest survivors with classic infantile Pompe disease (IPD). METHODS: Muscle biopsies from 8 [4 female, 4 male; 6 cross-reactive immunologic material (CRIM)-positive, 2 CRIM-negative] patients with a confirmed diagnosis of classic IPD were examined using standard histopathological approaches. In addition, muscle biopsies were evaluated by immunostaining for lysosomal marker (lysosomal-associated membrane protein-2; LAMP2), autophagosomal marker (microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3; LC3), and acid and alkaline ATPases. All patients received rhGAA by infusion at cumulative biweekly doses of 20-40 mg/kg. RESULTS: Median age at diagnosis of classic IPD was 3.4 months (range: 0 to 6.5 months; n = 8). At the time of muscle biopsy, the patients' ages ranged from 1 to 103 months and ERT duration ranged from 0 (i.e., baseline, pre-ERT) to 96 months. The response to therapy varied considerably among the patients: some patients demonstrated motor gains while others experienced deterioration of motor function, either with or without a period of initial clinical benefit. Skeletal muscle pathology included fiber destruction, lysosomal vacuolation, and autophagic abnormalities (i.e., buildup), particularly in fibers with minimal lysosomal enlargement. Overall, the pathology reflected clinical status. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study to investigate the impact of rhGAA ERT on lysosomal glycogen accumulation and autophagic buildup in patients with classic IPD beyond 18 months of treatment. Our findings indicate that ERT does not fully halt or reverse the underlying skeletal muscle pathology in IPD. The best outcomes were observed in the two patients who began therapy early, namely at 0.5 and 1.1 months of age.





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Prater, Sean N, Trusha T Patel, Anne F Buckley, Hanna Mandel, Eugene Vlodavski, Suhrad G Banugaria, Erin J Feeney, Nina Raben, et al. (2013). Skeletal muscle pathology of infantile Pompe disease during long-term enzyme replacement therapy. Orphanet J Rare Dis, 8. p. 90. 10.1186/1750-1172-8-90 Retrieved from

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Anne Frances Buckley

Associate Professor of Pathology

My basic research focus is on neurogenic stem cells and their involvement in brain development and brain tumors. I work in mouse models using inducible in vivo genetic systems, live imaging, and tissue culture, in addition to histological and biochemical methods.
My clinical research interests include neuromuscular diseases. I collaborate with colleagues at Duke on basic and translational research in this area.


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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