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CNS Spectr. 2007 Jun;12(6):429-38.

Psychiatric comorbidity in 36 adults with mitochondrial cytopathies.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Lutheran Hospital, Cleveland Clinic Health System, 1730 West 25th Street/2A, Cleveland, OH 44113, USA.



Mitochondria are intracellular organelles involved in adenosine triphosphate production. The literature has established the presence of mitochondrial dysfunction in some subjects with psychiatric disorders. Also, there are multiple reports of patients with mitochondrial dysfunction who have various psychiatric disorders. Although the literature on mitochondrial dysfunction and its relation to psychiatric disorders is growing, there remain many unanswered questions.


To review subjects with mitochondrial cytopathies for prevalence of psychiatric comorbidity.


For this study, 36 adults were interviewed. The Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview and the Short-Form 36 Health Survey, version 1 were used.


Lifetime diagnoses included 54% major depressive disorder, 17% bipolar disorder, and 11% panic disorder. These prevalence rates are compared with the general population and subjects with cancer and epilepsy. Subjects with a comorbid psychiatric diagnosis were older (P=.05), had more hospital admissions (P=.02), more medical conditions (P=.01), and lower quality of life (P=.01) than subjects with mitochondrial disease alone.


Clinicians caring for persons with mitochondrial cytopathies should note the high prevalence of psychiatric problems. Also, this comorbidity might have etiological and therapeutic implications.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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