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Neurol Clin. 1989 Feb;7(1):123-56.

Mitochondrial diseases.

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Department of Neurology, Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, New York, New York.


Mitochondrial diseases, and particularly mitochondrial myopathies or encephalomyopathies, have drawn increasing attention in the past decade. Initially defined by morphologic changes in muscle ("ragged red fibers" and ultrastructural abnormalities of mitochondria), mitochondrial encephalomyopathies can now be classified according to biochemical defects involving: (1) mitochondrial transport; (2) substrate oxidation; (3) Krebs cycle; (4) respiratory chain; and (5) oxidation-phosphorylation coupling. For each biochemical group of disorders, the authors describe clinical presentations and biochemical findings. These disorders are especially interesting from the genetic point of view because mitochondria have their own DNA (mtDNA), which encodes 13 polypeptides, all of them subunits of respiratory chain complexes. Other mitochondrial proteins are encoded by nuclear DNA, synthesized in the cytoplasm, and imported into the mitochondria by a complex mechanism. Because mtDNA is inherited strictly by maternal, cytoplasmic inheritance, mitochondrial diseases can be transmitted by Mendelian or by non-Mendelian, maternal inheritance, as illustrated by human pathology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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