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Curr Opin Neurol. 2008 Oct;21(5):601-6. doi: 10.1097/WCO.0b013e32830dd5a6.

Lipid storage myopathies.

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  • 1Muscular and Neurodegenerative Disease Unit, Giannina Gaslini Institute, Genova, Italy.



The aim of this review is to provide an update on disorders of lipid metabolism affecting skeletal muscle exclusively or predominantly and to summarize recent clinical, genetic, and therapeutic studies in this field.


Over the past 5 years, new clinical phenotypes and genetic loci have been described, unusual pathogenic mechanisms have been elucidated, and novel pharmacological approaches have been developed. At least one genetic defect responsible for the myopathic form of CoQ10 deficiency has been identified, causing a disorder that is allelic with the late-onset riboflavine-responsive form of multiple acyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenation deficiency. Novel mechanisms involved in the lipolytic breakdown of cellular lipid depots have been described and have led to the identification of genes and mutations responsible for multisystemic neutral lipid storage disorders, characterized by accumulation of triglyceride in multiple tissues, including muscle.


Defects in lipid metabolism can affect either the mitochondrial transport and oxidation of exogenous fatty acid or the catabolism of endogenous triglycerides. These disorders impair energy production and almost invariably involve skeletal muscle, causing progressive myopathy with muscle weakness, or recurrent acute episodes of rhabdomyolysis triggered by exercise, fasting, or infections. Clinical and genetic characterization of these disorders has important implications both for accurate diagnostic approach and for development of therapeutic strategies.

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