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Acta Paediatr. 1998 Oct;87(10):1039-44.

Increased number of substitutions in the D-loop of mitochondrial DNA in the sudden infant death syndrome.

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Institute of Forensic Medicine and Epidemiological Center, The National Hospital, Oslo, Norway.


The purpose of the present study was to investigate substitutions in the D-loop of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and controls, since several observations indicate the involvement of mtDNA mutations in SIDS. These include elevated levels of vitreous humour hypoxanthine in SIDS victims, familial clustering without mendelian traits, and observations of increased sleepiness and a lower activity score in infants who later succumbed to SIDS. Eighty-two cases of SIDS and 133 controls were investigated and the D-loop sequences were recorded in the base-pair range 16055-16500 in the mtDNA sequence. The sequencing was carried out using the Applied Biosystems Sequenase dye terminator method and a ABD373A sequencer. The recorded D-loop sequences were compared with the Cambridge sequence and differences were recorded as substitutions. The SIDS cases had a tendency towards a higher substitution rate in the D-loop than the controls (p = 0.088). This observation makes it interesting to search for deleterious mutations in other locations in the mtDNA.

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