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1/142. A novel heteroplasmic point mutation in the mitochondrial tRNA(Lys) gene in a sporadic case of mitochondrial encephalomyopathy: de novo mutation and no transmission to the offspring.

    We have identified a new mutation in the tRNA(Lys) gene of mtDNA, in a 49-year-old patient with mitochondrial encephalomyopathy. The mutation is a heteroplasmic G-->A transition at position 8328, which affects the anticodon stem loop at a conserved site. The mutation was neither found in 100 controls nor in the maternal relatives of the patient. The level of mutated mtDNA was 57% in muscle, 13% in fibroblasts, and 10% in lymphocytes. Histochemistry of muscle tissue revealed cytochrome c oxidase-deficient fibers with abnormal accumulation of mitochondria. biochemistry of muscle mitochondria showed slight cytochrome c oxidase deficiency. The mean ratio of mutant mtDNA to normal mtDNA in cytochrome c oxidase-positive muscle fibers was 59%, whereas a mean ratio of 95% was found in cytochrome c oxidase-negative fibers. The difference between cytochrome c oxidase-positive and cytochrome c oxidase-negative fibers was highly significant (P < 0.001). The mutation was not found in muscle or lymphocytes of the mother and daughter of the proband. This is the first report of a de novo point mutation in the tRNA(Lys) gene in an individual expressing disease and the first report of lack of transmission of the mutation to the offspring of a patient expressing a mitochondrial encephalomyopathy caused by a point mutation in mtDNA. ( info)

2/142. An mtDNA mutation in the initiation codon of the cytochrome C oxidase subunit II gene results in lower levels of the protein and a mitochondrial encephalomyopathy.

    A novel heteroplasmic 7587T-->C mutation in the mitochondrial genome which changes the initiation codon of the gene encoding cytochrome c oxidase subunit II (COX II), was found in a family with mitochondrial disease. This T-->C transition is predicted to change the initiating methionine to threonine. The mutation load was present at 67% in muscle from the index case and at 91% in muscle from the patient's clinically affected son. Muscle biopsy samples revealed isolated COX deficiency and mitochondrial proliferation. Single-muscle-fiber analysis revealed that the 7587C copy was at much higher load in COX-negative fibers than in COX-positive fibers. After microphotometric enzyme analysis, the mutation was shown to cause a decrease in COX activity when the mutant load was >55%-65%. In fibroblasts from one family member, which contained >95% mutated mtDNA, there was no detectable synthesis or any steady-state level of COX II. This new mutation constitutes a new mechanism by which mtDNA mutations can cause disease-defective initiation of translation. ( info)

3/142. vocal cord paralysis and hypoventilation in a patient with suspected leigh disease.

    The authors report the case of a 16-month-old male with suspected leigh disease, which was diagnosed on the basis of the clinical manifestations, abnormal lactate stimulation test, proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and neuroradiologic findings. Progressive stridor resulting from bilateral vocal cord paralysis and hypoventilation was evident. The authors suggest that for infants or children who exhibit vocal cord paralysis, mitochondrial disorders, such as leigh disease, should be considered. ( info)

4/142. Necrotizing encephalopathy and macrocephaly with mitochondrial complex I deficiency.

    A neonate presented in the first weeks after birth with vomiting. He was unresponsive, with hypotonia, macrocephaly, and lactic acidosis. The cranial computed tomographic scan revealed a hypodense brain, with increased brain volume and extensive cerebral edema. He died at 6 weeks of age; postmortem examination revealed necrotizing encephalopathy with marked brain edema, spongiosis, thalamic necrosis, and basal ganglia calcifications. Enzyme studies of the mitochondrial respiratory chain revealed complex I deficiency in both muscle and liver. ( info)

5/142. Pontocerebellar hypoplasia associated with respiratory-chain defects.

    Pontocerebellar hypoplasias are congenital disorders of brain morphogenesis which include such diverse etiologies as carbohydrate-deficient glycoprotein syndrome type 1, cerebromuscular dystrophies (walker-warburg syndrome, Fukuyama syndrome, muscle-eye-brain disease) and at least two types of autosomal recessive neurodegenerations known as pontocerebellar hypoplasia type I and II. Pontocerebellar hypoplasia type 1 is a lethal phenotype and clinical features include congenital contractures, respiratory insufficiency, central and peripheral motor dysfunction and spinal anterior horn degeneration. Type 2 is characterized by progressive microcephaly, extrapyramidal dyskinesia and normal spinal cord findings. In this paper, we describe a girl, born at 33 weeks of gestation, presenting with respiratory insufficiency and multiple contractures. MRI scan of the brain demonstrated pontocerebellar hypoplasia and cortical and diffuse periventricular white matter abnormalities. Postmortem examination showed pontocerebellar hypoplasia with extensive gliosis of the periventricular white matter and of the basal ganglia with normal spinal cord findings. histology of skeletal muscle was normal. Biochemical analysis demonstrated multiple deficiencies of respiratory chain enzymes in skin fibroblasts. This case demonstrates a lethal phenotype of pontocerebellar hypoplasia without spinal cord abnormalities associated with a respiratory-chain disorder. The diagnostic workup in a patient whose brain image shows pontocerebellar hypoplasia should include a search for respiratory-chain impairment. ( info)

6/142. Flow cytometric evaluation of defects of the mitochondrial respiratory chain.

    Cultured human skin fibroblasts from 12 patients with a variety of mitochondrial respiratory chain defects were examined for their capacity to oxidize dihydrorhodamine-123 to the fluorescent molecule rhodamine-123 using a flow cytometer. We found that cells from patients with functional defects in respiratory chain enzymes were less able to oxidize dihydrorhodamine-123 than those of healthy controls. Ten of the cell strains had reduced activity in at least one of the respiratory chain complexes and also showed significantly reduced fluorescence when compared to the mean of eight normal control cell strains. One patient had mitochondrial encephalomyopathy, lactic acidosis, and strokelike episodes (with the A3243G mutation) and reduced respiratory chain activities in muscle and liver. Molecular analysis did not show the mutation in cultured skin fibroblasts, and had correspondingly normal fluorescence. The 12th cell strain showed reduced fluorescence but did not reach statistical significance. This strategy could be of use in helping direct further investigations in patients, and in studying the biochemical pathogenesis of mitochondrial dna mutations in cybrid studies. ( info)

7/142. Muscle carnitine acetyltransferase and carnitine deficiency in a case of mitochondrial encephalomyopathy.

    Profound decrease of the carnitine acetyltransferase activity (0.08 U/g wet weight; 1.67% of control) and carnitine deficiency (total carnitine was 230 nmol/g wet weight in the patient vs 2730 in the controls) was detected in the skeletal muscle of a female paediatric patient. She died of her illness, which included cerebellar symptoms and slight muscle spasticity affecting mainly the lower extremities, at 1 year of age. Histological examination of the autopsy specimens revealed a selective Purkinje cell degeneration in the cerebellum: the cells had abnormal position, were shrunken and decreased in number, and displayed abnormal dendritic trees and fragmented, disorganized axons. Electron microscopy revealed mitochondrial abnormalities in skeletal and cardiac muscle and also in the purkinje cells. Deletions of the mitochondrial dna were detected in the muscle in heteroplasmic form (up to 7%). Mainly the ND4-ND4L region was affected, as evidenced by the PCR; however, other regions of the mitochondrial genome also showed deletions of varying size and extent, suggesting multiple deletions of the mitochondrial dna. ( info)

8/142. Cerebral white matter disease in children may be caused by mitochondrial respiratory chain deficiency.

    Several mitochondrial diseases are known to occasionally involve the cerebral white matter, namely Leigh syndrome, kearns-sayre syndrome, and melas syndrome, but in these cases the major finding is alteration in the basal ganglia and brainstem. Here we report on severe diffuse white matter involvement and respiratory chain enzyme deficiency or mitochondrial dna rearrangement in 5 unrelated families. It is interesting that white matter lesions were the only abnormal neuroradiologic feature in 3 of the 5 families, and multiple small cyst-like white matter lesions were found in 2 of 5 probands. Respiratory chain deficiency should be considered in the diagnosis of severe white matter involvement in childhood. ( info)

9/142. Single large-scale mitochondrial dna deletion in a patient with encephalopathy, cardiomyopathy, and prominent intestinal pseudo-obstruction.

    We studied a 62 year-old woman with a clinical phenotype characterized by encephalopathy, restrictive cardiomyopathy, and prominent intestinal pseudo-obstruction. Muscle morphology showed ragged red fibres with ultrastructurally abnormal mitochondrial whereas muscle respiratory chain was normal. Molecular genetics revealed the 'common deletion' in mtDNA, which represented 40% of total mtDNA. These data expand and confirm the wide clinical spectrum of mitochondrial disorders associated with single large-scale mtDNA deletions. ( info)

10/142. Decreased aminoacylation of mutant tRNAs in MELAS but not in MERRF patients.

    Mutations in human mitochondrial tRNA genes are associated with a number of multisystemic disorders. Using an assay that combines tRNA oxidation and circularization we have determined the relative amounts and states of aminoacylation of mutant and wild-type tRNAs in tissue samples from patients with melas syndrome (mito- chondrial myopathy, encephalopathy, lactic acidosis, stroke-like episodes) and merrf syndrome (myoclonus epilepsy with ragged red fibers), respectively. In most, but not all, biopsies from MELAS patients carrying the A3243G substitution in the mitochondrial tRNA(Leu(UUR))gene, the mutant tRNA is under-represented among processed and/or aminoacylated tRNAs. In contrast, in biopsies from MERRF patients harboring the A8344G substitution in the tRNA(Lys)gene neither the relative abundance nor the aminoacylation of the mutated tRNA is affected. Thus, whereas the A3243G mutation may contribute to the pathogenesis of MELAS by reducing the amount of aminoacylated tRNA(Leu), the A8344G mutation does not affect tRNA(Lys)function in the same way. ( info)
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