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Acta Neuropathol. 1993;85(4):370-7.

Quantitative evaluation of electron transport system proteins in mitochondrial encephalomyopathy.

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Department of Pediatrics, Tohoku University School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan.


The levels of mitochondrial electron transport system proteins cytochrome c oxidase (COX) and complex III were measured in muscle fibers of patients with mitochondrial encephalomyopathy using quantitative immunoelectron microscopy. In a patient with Leigh's encephalopathy, immunoreactive COX protein was decreased to 20% of the normal mean value in all muscle fibers examined, while the amount of complex III was within the normal range. In a patient with fatal infantile COX deficiency, the level of COX protein was found to be decreased to 27-40% of the normal value in all muscle fibers examined. In patients with mitochondrial myopathy, encephalopathy, lactic acidosis associated with stroke-like episodes (MELAS) and chronic progressive external ophthalmoplegia (CPEO), COX protein levels were decreased to 20% of normal in muscle fibers lacking COX activity. In normal fibers, however, COX protein levels were also normal. The amount of complex III protein was normal in COX-deficient muscle fibers. In two patients, in situ hybridization was performed for detection of mitochondrial mRNA. Mitochondrial mRNAs were found to be abundant in muscle fibers with decreased COX protein, suggesting a defect at the mitochondrial protein-synthesis level in a COX-deficient muscle fiber.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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