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JIMD Rep. 2014;14:17-21. doi: 10.1007/8904_2013_278. Epub 2013 Nov 9.

Secondary Mitochondrial Respiratory Chain Defect Can Delay Accurate PFIC2 Diagnosis.

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Biochemistry Unit, Hôpital Bicêtre, Assistance Publique - Hôpitaux de Paris, Université Paris Sud 11, 78, rue du Général Leclerc, Le Kremlin-Bicêtre, 94275 cedex, France,


Multiple respiratory chain deficiencies represent a common cause of mitochondrial diseases and often result in hepatic failure. There is no gold-standard test for diagnosing mitochondrial disease, and the current diagnosis relies on establishing a consistent pattern of evidence from clinical data, neuroimaging, tissue biopsy, and biochemical investigations. In some patients, the mitochondrial respiratory chain defect (MRCD) diagnosis is confirmed by genetic investigations. In most cases, genetic investigations are not informative and a number of cases remain unexplained.Here, we report on two children presenting with liver disease in whom first investigations suggested MRCD, due to decreased liver respiratory chain activities and decreased mitochondrial DNA copy number. However, sequencing of the genes known to be associated with mitochondrial DNA instability did not identify any pathogenic mutations. Further investigations including exome analysis, biliary bile salt analysis, and/or BSEP immunostaining detected a defect in the bile salt export pump (BSEP). Diagnosis of progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis type 2 (PFIC2), a hereditary disorder in bile formation due to BSEP deficiency was confirmed by ABCB11 gene sequencing. Deleterious mutations were identified in both patients: one harboring compound heterozygous mutations (p.Arg470*/c.1308+2T>A) and the other homozygous nonsense mutation (p.Tyr354*). This report increases awareness of a possible secondary mitochondrial respiratory chain defect in the liver tissue associated with other underlying causes such as PFIC2.

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