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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 1998 Nov;122(11):978-81.

Mitochondrial myopathy, encephalopathy, lactic acidosis, and strokelike episodes (MELAS) syndrome: an autopsy report.

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  • 1Department of Anatomic Pathology, Cleveland (Ohio) Clinic Foundation, 44195, USA.


Autopsy reports of patients with mitochondrial encephalopathy with lactic acidosis and strokelike episode (MELAS) are rare. This report documents the clinical and autopsy findings of a 47-year-old woman with MELAS syndrome. The diagnosis was corroborated by documenting a mitochondrial DNA mutation tRNA-Leu (UUR) at position 3243. The patient's clinical history was marked by schizophrenia, peptic ulcer disease, constipation requiring hemicolectomy, migraine headaches, deafness, and a left temporal lobe infarct. At autopsy, a muscle biopsy demonstrated numerous ragged red fibers and a partial cytochrome C oxidase deficiency. By electron microscopy, increased numbers of slightly hypertrophic mitochondria were observed focally within myocytes and vessel walls; paracrystalline mitochondrial inclusions were not seen. The brain at autopsy showed mild cerebral atrophy and diffuse cortical gliosis. Prominent bilateral basal ganglia calcifications and vascular sclerosis were present, and a small remote left temporal lobe infarct was seen.

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