Sarah Jhung

Columbia University, New York City, NY, United States

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Publications (5)37.69 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial DNA point mutations are especially deleterious to tissues with high energy demand, including the peripheral nervous system. Neuropathy has been associated with several mitochondrial diseases, including MELAS (mitochondrial encephalomyopathy, lactic acidosis, and strokelike episodes). To evaluate nerve conduction in a genotypically and phenotypically homogeneous group of patients with MELAS and the A3243G mutation. We studied 30 patients with MELAS and the A3243G mutation using neurophysiological techniques, medical history questionnaires, laboratory tests, and a standardized neurological examination. Twenty-three subjects (77%) had abnormal nerve conduction measures. Symptoms suggestive of neuropathy were present in only half of the patients, but almost all had decreased reflexes or distal sensory findings on examination. Nerve conduction abnormalities were predominantly axonal and sensory and mainly present in the legs. Patients with nerve conduction abnormalities tended to be older and were more likely male. Peripheral nerve impairment is common in those with MELAS and the A3243G mutation, and may be subclinical. Male sex and older age may add to the genetic disposition to develop neuropathy.
    JAMA Neurology 06/2006; 63(5):746-8. · 7.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To evaluate the efficacy of dichloroacetate (DCA) in the treatment of mitochondrial myopathy, encephalopathy, lactic acidosis and stroke-like episodes (MELAS). High levels of ventricular lactate, the brain spectroscopic signature of MELAS, correlate with more severe neurologic impairment. The authors hypothesized that chronic cerebral lactic acidosis exacerbates neuronal injury in MELAS and therefore, investigated DCA, a potent lactate-lowering agent, as potential treatment for MELAS. The authors conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, 3-year cross-over trial of DCA (25 mg/kg/day) in 30 patients (aged 10 to 60 years) with MELAS and the A3243G mutation. Primary outcome measure was a Global Assessment of Treatment Efficacy (GATE) score based on a health-related event inventory, and on neurologic, neuropsychological, and daily living functioning. Biologic outcome measures included venous, CSF, and 1H MRSI-estimated brain lactate. Blood tests and nerve conduction studies were performed to monitor safety. During the initial 24-month treatment period, 15 of 15 patients randomized to DCA were taken off study medication, compared to 4 of 15 patients randomized to placebo. Study medication was discontinued in 17 of 19 patients because of onset or worsening of peripheral neuropathy. The clinical trial was terminated early because of peripheral nerve toxicity. The mean GATE score was not significantly different between treatment arms. DCA at 25 mg/kg/day is associated with peripheral nerve toxicity resulting in a high rate of medication discontinuation and early study termination. Under these experimental conditions, the authors were unable to detect any beneficial effect. The findings show that DCA-associated neuropathy overshadows the assessment of any potential benefit in MELAS.
    Neurology 03/2006; 66(3):324-30. · 8.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Impaired glucose transport across the blood-brain barrier results in Glut-1 deficiency syndrome (Glut-1 DS, OMIM 606777), characterized by infantile seizures, developmental delay, acquired microcephaly, spasticity, ataxia, and hypoglycorrhachia. We studied 16 new Glut-1 deficiency syndrome patients focusing on clinical and laboratory features, molecular genetics, genotype-phenotype correlation, and treatment. These patients were classified phenotypically into three groups. The mean cerebrospinal fluid glucose concentration was 33.1 +/- 4.9mg/dl equal to 37% of the simultaneous blood glucose concentration. The mean cerebrospinal fluid lactate concentration was 1.0 +/- 0.3mM, which was less than the normal mean value of 1.63mM. The mean V(max) for the 3-O-methyl-D-glucose uptake into erythrocytes was 996 fmol/10(6) red blood cells per second, significantly less (54 +/- 11%; t test, p < 0.05) than the mean control value of 1,847. The mean Km value for the patient group (1.4 +/- 0.5mM) was similar to the control group (1.7 +/- 0.5mM; t test, p > 0.05). We identified 16 rearrangements, including seven missense, one nonsense, one insertion, and seven deletion mutations. Fourteen were novel mutations. There were no obvious correlations between phenotype, genotype, or biochemical measures. The ketogenic diet produced good seizure control.
    Annals of Neurology 02/2005; 57(1):111-8. · 11.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Testing for common mutations in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), including the A3243G MELAS (mitochondrial encephalomyopathy, lactic acidosis, and strokelike episodes) mutation, is routinely done in DNA isolated from blood. Since the blood level of the A3243G mutation may be low in probands and even lower in asymptomatic or oligosymptomatic maternal relatives, we assessed the proportion of A3243G mutant genomes in other accessible tissues. We studied five tissues (leukocytes, skin fibroblasts, hair roots, urinary sediment, and cheek mucosa) in 61 individuals from 22 families harboring the A3243G mutation. Although mutational loads varied widely among these tissues, as a rule DNA from urinary sediment had the highest and blood the lowest proportion of mutant genomes; individual hair roots differed markedly from one another; fibroblasts and cheek mucosa tended to have higher mutation loads than blood but lower than urinary sediment. In all individuals in whom the mutation was detectable in blood, it was also detected in other tissues. Conversely, in some individuals the mutation was undetectable in blood but clearly present in other tissues. We conclude that urinary sediment and cheek mucosa are tissues of choice for the diagnosis of mtDNA mutations, as they are easy to obtain and the mutation load is almost always greater than in blood.
    American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A 11/2004; 130A(2):134-7. · 2.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To evaluate the role of chronic cerebral lactic acidosis in mitochondrial encephalomyopathy, lactic acidosis, and stroke-like episodes (MELAS). The authors studied 91 individuals from 34 families with MELAS and the A3243G point mutation and 15 individuals from two families with myoclonus epilepsy and ragged red fibers (MERRF) and the A8344G mutation. Subjects were divided into four groups. Paternal relatives were studied as controls (Group 1). The maternally related subjects were divided clinically into three groups: asymptomatic (no clinical evidence of neurologic disease) (Group 2), oligosymptomatic (neurologic symptoms but without the full clinical picture of MELAS or MERRF) (Group 3), and symptomatic (fulfilling MELAS or MERRF criteria) (Group 4). The authors performed a standardized neurologic examination, neuropsychological testing, MRS, and leukocyte DNA analysis in all subjects. The symptomatic and oligosymptomatic MELAS subjects had significantly higher ventricular lactate than the other groups. There was a significant correlation between degree of neuropsychological and neurologic impairment and cerebral lactic acidosis as estimated by ventricular MRS lactate levels. High levels of ventricular lactate, the brain spectroscopic signature of MELAS, are associated with more severe neurologic impairment.
    Neurology 05/2004; 62(8):1297-302. · 8.30 Impact Factor