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J Atheroscler Thromb. 2011;18(10):867-73. Epub 2011 Aug 16.

Depleted leukocyte mitochondrial DNA copy number in metabolic syndrome.

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Division of Cardiology, Department of Internal Medicine, Changhua Christian Hospital, Changhua, Taiwan.



Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is characterized by a group of defects of metabolic origin which are possibly involved in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) alteration of mtDNA content [Lee et al. Exp Biol Med, 2007; 232(5):592-606]. The present study was undertaken to ascertain whether alteration of leukocyte mtDNA copy number is related to MetS.


Eighty non-MetS subjects and 50 subjects with MetS were recruited. The mtDNA copy number of leukocytes from each group of subjects was measured using quantitative polymerase chain reaction.


The mtDNA copy number of leukocytes in subjects with MetS was significantly lower than that of non-MetS subjects. Depleted mtDNA copy number is correlated with lower plasma HDL, higher triglyceride, higher HOMA-IR and hypertension, and is even more sensitive to MetS criteria.


Depleted leukocyte mtDNA copy number is related to the severity of MetS. Alteration of mtDNA copy number in leukocytes is proposed as a MetS biomarker involved in the bioenergetic change of mitochondria.

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