Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Hum Genet. 2006 Sep;79(3):469-80. Epub 2006 Jul 7.

Mitochondrial DNA-deletion mutations accumulate intracellularly to detrimental levels in aged human skeletal muscle fibers.

Author information

Department of Animal Health and Biomedical Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA.


Skeletal muscle-mass loss with age has severe health consequences, yet the molecular basis of the loss remains obscure. Although mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)-deletion mutations have been shown to accumulate with age, for these aberrant genomes to be physiologically relevant, they must accumulate to high levels intracellularly and be present in a significant number of cells. We examined mtDNA-deletion mutations in vastus lateralis (VL) muscle of human subjects aged 49-93 years, using both histologic and polymerase-chain-reaction (PCR) analyses, to determine the physiological and genomic integrity of mitochondria in aging human muscle. The number of VL muscle fibers exhibiting mitochondrial electron-transport-system (ETS) abnormalities increased from an estimated 6% at age 49 years to 31% at age 92 years. We analyzed the mitochondrial genotype of 48 single ETS-abnormal, cytochrome c oxidase-negative/succinate dehydrogenase-hyperreactive (COX-/SDH++) fibers from normal aging human subjects and identified mtDNA-deletion mutations in all abnormal fibers. Deletion mutations were clonal within a fiber and concomitant to the COX-/SDH++ region. Quantitative PCR analysis of wild-type and deletion-containing mtDNA genomes within ETS-abnormal regions of single fibers demonstrated that these deletion mutations accumulate to detrimental levels (>90% of the total mtDNA).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center