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Neurology. 1996 May;46(5):1343-6.

Respiratory-chain enzyme activities in isolated mitochondria of lymphocytes from untreated Parkinson's disease patients. Grupo-Centro de Trastornos del Movimiento.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Hospital Universitario Doce de Octubre, Madrid, Spain.


We studied respiratory-chain enzyme activities in lymphocyte mitochondria from 36 untreated Parkinson's disease (PD) patients and in 30 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. The respiratory-chain enzyme activities did not differ significantly between patients and controls. Moreover, no patient showed respiratory-chain enzyme levels below normal range. Values for activities of complexes in the PD group did not correlate with age at onset, duration, scores of the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating scales, or Hoehn and Yahr staging. These results suggest that the presence of defects of respiratory-chain complexes could depend on methodologic aspects, and that determinations of respiratory-chain enzymes in cell homogenates are not generally appropriate for evaluating abnormal mitochondrial dysfunction, especially when the amount of the specific enzyme is relatively low, as is the case of blood cells. In addition, the method of measuring complex I activity is critical for evaluating the results. In conclusion, our finding of normal mitochondrial function in lymphocyte mitochondria suggests that this tissue cannot be used to develop a diagnostic test for PD.

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