New Insights into Gastrointestinal Involvement in Late-Onset Pompe Disease: Lessons Learned from Bench and Bedside.
BACKGROUND: 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. METHODS: 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. RESULTS: 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). CONCLUSION: 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.