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Pediatr Neurol. 1996 Sep;15(2):153-8.

Mitochondrial myopathy simulating spinal muscular atrophy.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Colleen Giblin Laboratories for Pediatric Neurology Research, New York, USA.


A patient with a severe progressive neuromuscular disorder resembling spinal muscular atrophy is reported. The initial muscle biopsy was consistent with a denervating process. DNA analysis did not reveal deletions in exons 7 and 8 of the survival motor neuron gene. Histology, histochemistry, and biochemistry of a second muscle biopsy suggested mitochondrial myopathy accompanying the denervating features. Immunohistochemistry using anti-DNA antibodies revealed only nuclear staining in skeletal muscle, suggesting mitochondrial DNA depletion. In patients with clinical features of spinal muscular atrophy and no deletions in the survival motor neuron gene, mitochondrial DNA depletion should be considered.

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