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Pediatr Res. 1990 Nov;28(5):525-8.

Mitochondrial DNA mutations associated with neuromuscular diseases: analysis and diagnosis using the polymerase chain reaction.

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Department of Biochemistry, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30322.


A number of neuromuscular diseases are associated with molecular defects in the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). These include: 1) a missense mutation at nucleotide 11778 in the mtDNA of Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy patients; 2) a heterogeneous array of deletions in the mtDNA of ocular myopathy patients; and 3) small deletions and point mutations in the mtDNA of myoclonic epilepsy and ragged red fiber disease patients. We can now diagnose these diseases at the molecular level from small patient samples by amplifying the affected mtDNA regions using the polymerase chain reaction. Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy is diagnosed through loss of an SfaNI restriction site. Ocular myopathy deletions are identified by differential amplification across deletion breakpoints. Familial diseases such as myoclonic epilepsy and ragged red fiber disease might be diagnosed by identifying small deletions through amplification and electrophoretic analysis of the entire mtDNA genome or by identifying point mutations through differential oligonucleotide hybridization. As additional mtDNA molecular defects are identified, molecular analysis will likely become a primary tool for the diagnosis of these diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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