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Arch Neurol. 2002 Feb;59(2):264-70.

Biochemical-clinical correlation in patients with different loads of the mitochondrial DNA T8993G mutation.

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  • 1Istituto di Clinica Neurologica, Universita' di Bologna, Via U Foscolo 7, 40123 Bologna, Italy. carelli@neuro.unibo.it

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate the correlation between biochemical and clinical phenotype in 6 patients from 3 unrelated families with different mutation loads (heteroplasmy) of the T8993G mitochondrial DNA mutation associated with neuropathy, ataxia, and retinitis pigmentosa-Leigh syndrome.

METHODS:

We studied adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthase activity (synthesis and hydrolysis) in platelet-derived submitochondrial particles and assessed mutant loads both in platelets used for biochemical analysis and in other available tissues. Biochemical and molecular results were correlated with clinical features.

RESULTS:

The rate of ATP hydrolysis was normal, but ATP synthesis was severely impaired (30% to 4% of residual activity) in patients harboring 34% to 90% mutant mitochondrial DNA, without any evidence of a threshold for the expression of this defect. There was little variation in heteroplasmy among tissues from each patient, but wider variability was detected in 2 mothers. Correlation of heteroplasmy and clinical and biochemical features suggested that ATP synthesis is defective at mutant loads as low as 34% and is extremely reduced at mutant loads above 80% when the phenotype is neuropathy, ataxia, and retinitis pigmentosa-Leigh syndrome.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study indicates a close relationship between tissue heteroplasmy, expression of the biochemical defect in platelets, and clinical involvement. The biochemical defect was greater than previously reported, and we found no evidence of a biochemical threshold. The uniform distribution of high mutant loads among our patients' tissues suggests a differential tissue-specific reliance on mitochondrial ATP synthesis.

PMID:
11843698
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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