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Mitochondrion. 2009 Apr;9(2):139-43. doi: 10.1016/j.mito.2009.01.004. Epub 2009 Jan 21.

The study of mitochondrial A3243G mutation in different samples.

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Department of Central Laboratory, Peking University First Hospital, No. 8, Xishiku street, West District, Beijing 100034, China.


Mitochondrial encephalopathy, lactic acidosis and stroke-like episodes syndrome (MELAS) is the most frequent syndromic manifestation of A3243G mutation in mitochondrial DNA. Detection of A3243G mutation in blood is less helpful for the diagnosis of MELAS and the carriers, and the mutation ratio in blood correlates only in a limited extent with the severity of the disease. Here we compared the ratio of A3243G mutation in four easily available samples (blood, urine, hair follicle and saliva) in patients with MELAS carrying A3243G mutation as well as their maternal relatives from 32 families, to find out the samples appropriate for the detection of the patients and carriers and useful for the evaluation of clinical severity from their mutation ratio. In MELAS patients and the carriers with minor symptoms or normal phenotype, A3243G mutation ratio was significantly higher in urine than in blood. A close correlation between A3243G mutation ratio in blood and that in urine, hair follicles and saliva was found in the probands and their relatives. Clinical features closely correlated with the mutation ratio in urine. Measurement of A3243G mutation ratio in urine is a non-invasive, convenient and rapid method with its diagnostic meaning superior to blood testing.

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