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Eur Neurol. 1998;39(1):9-15.

Follow-up in carriers of the 'MELAS' mutation without strokes.

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Department of Neurology, University of Giessen, Germany.


Eight carriers of the A3243G mutation of mitochondrial DNA without stroke-like episodes were monitored for up to 7 years in clinical and metabolic studies, by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET). None developed mitochondrial encephalopathy (MELAS), but 2 developed diabetes mellitus, 1 terminal kidney failure and 2 cardiomyopathy. One patient improved markedly under ubiquinone. Electroencephalography showed progressive slowing in 2 cases, but electrophysiological tests and MRI were otherwise noncontributary. PET showed widespread cortical and basal ganglion metabolic deficits in 6 cases. We conclude that internal medical complications are more common than MELAS in adult carriers of the mutation. PET findings, firstly reported in such patients, suggest that chronic subclinical encephalopathy is very frequent, and PET may play a role in monitoring in the future.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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