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Exp Hematol. 2008 May;36(5):577-86. doi: 10.1016/j.exphem.2008.01.004.

Analysis of mitochondrial DNA in 104 patients with myelodysplastic syndromes.

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Klinik für Hämatologie, Onkologie und Klinische Immunologie, Heinrich-Heine-Universität, Düsseldorf, Germany.



To determine the frequency and spectrum of somatic mutations of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in bone marrow of patients with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).


Analysis included 104 patients with MDS (24 refractory anemia, 32 refractory anemia with ringed sideroblasts, 34 refractory anemia with excess of blasts, 7 refractory anemia with excess of blasts in transformation to acute leukemia, and 7 chronic myelo-monocytic leukemia), 3 patients with acute myeloid leukemia from MDS, and 36 patients with myeloproliferative disease (23 chronic myeloid leukemia, 9 polycythemia vera, 4 idiopathic myelofibrosis). Mutation scanning was performed using heteroduplex analysis with denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography (dHPLC). The entire mitochondrial genome was amplified in 67 overlapping polymerase chain reaction fragments carefully optimized regarding DNA melting profiles. Abnormal dHPLC findings were confirmed by DNA sequencing.


Heteroplasmic mtDNA mutations, mostly transitions, were identified in 56% of MDS and 44% of myeloproliferative disorders patients. In MDS, mutation frequency increased with age and more-advanced disease. Mutational spectra showed no hot spots and were similar in different types of MDS. Heteroplasmic mutations generally did not represent known polymorphisms, and about half of them affected conserved amino acids or nucleotides. Mutations were less frequent in protein encoding genes (50 per 10(6) base pairs) than other mitochondrial genes (transfer RNAs, ribosomal RNAs, and control region; about 80 per 10(6) base pairs).


As mitochondria often show ultrastructural abnormalities in MDS, including pathological iron accumulation, mitochondrial dysfunction may contribute to MDS pathology. We found a high frequency of acquired mtDNA mutations in MDS. However, their functional importance remains unclear, considering that genotype correlates poorly with phenotype in mitochondrial diseases. The clonally expanded mtDNA mutations in MDS support the concept of age-related damage to mtDNA in hematopoietic stem cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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