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J Pediatr. 1992 Jan;120(1):62-6.

Mitochondrial encephalomyopathies with the mutation of the mitochondrial tRNA(Leu(UUR)) gene.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Osaka University School of Medicine, Japan.


Four families with mitochondrial encephalomyopathy are described. Probands of three families had typical clinical presentations of mitochondrial myopathy, encephalopathy, lactic acidosis, and strokelike episodes (MELAS), but the proband of family 4 lacked strokelike episodes. The mitochondrial DNA mutation of tRNA(Leu(UUR)) (transfer ribonucleic acid specific to leucine (UUR codon)) found in MELAS was examined in muscle DNA obtained from biopsy samples of the probands of four families and the maternal relatives of family 2. The mutation was detected in all muscle samples, and the degree of the mutated DNA was 68% to 84% by Southern blot analysis. However, the clinical patterns of the maternal relatives of family 2 were mild and distinctly different from MELAS. The same mutation was also detected in blood-derived DNA samples of all family members examined, including healthy mothers but not fathers, although the degree of mutation did not correlate with the clinical severity. These results confirmed the maternal inheritance of this disease and suggested that the mitochondrial DNA mutation (tRNA(Leu(UUR))) may cause clinical symptoms other than MELAS. The clinical findings of mitochondrial encephalomyopathy should be reinvestigated in terms of the mitochondrial gene mutation; the polymerase chain reaction method will be useful for screening for this mutation of mitochondrial DNA in blood samples.

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