Kearns Sayre Syndrome
National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.
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Kearns-Sayre syndrome (KSS) is a rare neuromuscular disorder characterized by three primary findings: progressive paralysis of certain eye muscles (chronic progressive external ophthalmoplegia [CPEO]); abnormal accumulation of colored (pigmented) material on the nerve-rich membrane lining the eyes (atypical retinitis pigmentosa), leading to chronic inflammation, progressive degeneration, and wearing away of certain eye structures (pigmentary degeneration of the retina); and heart disease (cardiomyopathy) such as heart block. Other findings may include muscle weakness, short stature, hearing loss, and/or the loss of ability to coordinate voluntary movements (ataxia) due to problems affecting part of the brain (cerebellum). In some cases, KSS may be associated with other disorders and/or conditions.
KSS belongs (in part) to a group of rare neuromuscular disorders known as mitochondrial encephalomyopathies. Mitochondrial encephalomyopathies are disorders in which a defect in genetic material arises from a part of the cell structure that releases energy (mitochondria), causing the brain and muscles to function improperly (encephalomyopathies). In these disorders, abnormally high numbers of defective mitochondria are present. In approximately 80 percent of cases of KSS, tests will reveal missing genetic material (deletion) involving the unique DNA in mitochondria (mtDNA).
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Last Updated: 3/22/2016
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