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Eur J Hum Genet. 2004 Sep;12(9):778-81.

Noninvasive diagnosis of the 3243A > G mitochondrial DNA mutation using urinary epithelial cells.

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Mitochondrial Research Group, School of Neurology, Neurobiology and Psychiatry, The Medical School, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Framlington Place, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.


The 3243A > G mutation is one of the most frequently observed mutations of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), and is associated with numerous clinical presentations including mitochondrial myopathy, encephalopathy, lactic acidosis and stroke-like episodes (MELAS), progressive external ophthalmoplegia (PEO) and diabetes and deafness. The routine diagnosis of the 3243A > G mutation in blood is difficult as mutation levels are known to decrease in this tissue over time, while in some patients it may be absent. We have directly compared the levels of the 3243A > G mutation in skeletal muscle, blood and urinary epithelial cells in 18 patients and observed a striking correlation between the mutation load in postmitotic muscle and urinary epithelium, a mitotic tissue. These data strongly support the use of urinary epithelial cells as the tissue of choice in the noninvasive diagnosis of the 3243A > G mutation.

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