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Nucleic Acids Res. 2001 Nov 1;29(21):4502-8.

Mitochondrial DNA deletion mutations are concomitant with ragged red regions of individual, aged muscle fibers: analysis by laser-capture microdissection.

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Department of Animal Health and Biomedical Science, 1656 Linden Drive, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA.


Laser-capture microdissection was coupled with PCR to define the mitochondrial genotype of aged muscle fibers exhibiting mitochondrial enzymatic abnormalities. These electron transport system (ETS) abnormalities accumulate with age, are localized segmentally along muscle fibers, are associated with fiber atrophy and may contribute to age-related fiber loss. DNA extracted from single, 10 microm thick, ETS abnormal muscle fibers, as well as sections from normal fibers, served as templates for PCR-based deletion analysis. Large mitochondrial (mt) DNA deletion mutations (4.4-9.7 kb) were detected in all 29 ETS abnormal fibers analyzed. Deleted mtDNA genomes were detected only in the regions of the fibers with ETS abnormalities; adjacent phenotypically normal portions of the same fiber contained wild-type mtDNA. In addition, identical mtDNA deletion mutations were found within different sections of the same abnormal region. These findings demonstrate that large deletion mutations are associated with ETS abnormalities in aged rat muscle and that, within a fiber, deletion mutations are clonal. The displacement of wild-type mtDNAs with mutant mtDNAs results in concomitant mitochondrial enzymatic abnormalities, fiber atrophy and fiber breakage.

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