Mitochondrial mosaics in the liver of 3 infants with mtDNA defects

Department of Pathology, Ghent University Hospital, block A, De Pintelaan 185, 9000 Gent, Belgium.
BMC Clinical Pathology 07/2009; 9:4. DOI: 10.1186/1472-6890-9-4
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In muscle cytochrome oxidase (COX) negative fibers (mitochondrial mosaics) have often been visualized.
COX activity staining of liver for light and electron microscopy, muscle stains, blue native gel electrophoresis and activity assays of respiratory chain proteins, their immunolocalisation, mitochondrial and nuclear DNA analysis.
Three unrelated infants showed a mitochondrial mosaic in the liver after staining for COX activity, i.e. hepatocytes with strongly reactive mitochondria were found adjacent to cells with many negative, or barely reactive, mitochondria. Deficiency was most severe in the patient diagnosed with Pearson syndrome. Ragged-red fibers were absent in muscle biopsies of all patients. Enzyme biochemistry was not diagnostic in muscle, fibroblasts and lymphocytes. Blue native gel electrophoresis of liver tissue, but not of muscle, demonstrated a decreased activity of complex IV; in both muscle and liver subcomplexes of complex V were seen. Immunocytochemistry of complex IV confirmed the mosaic pattern in two livers, but not in fibroblasts. MRI of the brain revealed severe white matter cavitation in the Pearson case, but only slight cortical atrophy in the Alpers-Huttenlocher patient, and a normal image in the 3rd. MtDNA in leucocytes showed a common deletion in 50% of the mtDNA molecules of the Pearson patient. In the patient diagnosed with Alpers-Huttenlocher syndrome, mtDNA was depleted for 60% in muscle. In the 3rd patient muscular and hepatic mtDNA was depleted for more than 70%. Mutations in the nuclear encoded gene of POLG were subsequently found in both the 2nd and 3rd patients.
Histoenzymatic COX staining of a liver biopsy is fast and yields crucial data about the pathogenesis; it indicates whether mtDNA should be assayed. Each time a mitochondrial disorder is suspected and muscle data are non-diagnostic, a liver biopsy should be recommended. Mosaics are probably more frequent than observed until now. A novel pathogenic mutation in POLG is reported.Tentative explanations for the mitochondrial mosaics are, in one patient, unequal partition of mutated mitochondria during mitoses, and in two others, an interaction between products of several genes required for mtDNA maintenance.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Description of the clinical course in a child compound heterozygous for POLG1 mutations, neuropathology findings and results of dietary treatment based on fasting avoidance and long chain triglycerides (LCT) restriction. At 3(1/2) months of age the patient presented with severe hypoglycemia, hyperlactatemia, moderate ketosis and hepatic failure. Fasting hypoglycemia occurred 8 h after meals. The hypoglycemia did not respond to glucagon. She was supplemented with IV glucose and/or frequent feedings, but developed liver insufficiency which was reversed by long-chain triglyceride (LCT) restriction. Alpha-foeto-protein (AFP) levels were elevated and returned to low values after dietary treatment. Liver biopsy displayed cirrhosis, bile ductular proliferation, steatosis, isolated complex IV defect in part of the liver mitochondria, and mitochondrial DNA depletion (27% of control values). Two heterozygous mutations (p. [Ala467Thr] + p. [Gly848Ser]) were found in the POLG1 gene. At 3 years of age she progressively developed refractory mixed type seizures including a focal component and psychomotor regression which fulfilled the criteria of Alpers syndrome (AS) although the initial presentation was compatible with infantile myocerebrohepatopathy spectrum (MCHS). She died at 5 years of age of respiratory insufficiency. Neuropathologic investigation revealed lesions in the right striatal area and the inferior colliculi typical for Leigh's encephalopathy. The present patient showed an evolution from infantile MCHS to AS, and dietary treatment seemed to slow the progression of liver failure. In spite of the late clinical features of AS, it extends the neuropathological spectrum of AS and polymerase gamma deficiency (POLG) to Leigh syndrome lesions.
    European journal of paediatric neurology: EJPN: official journal of the European Paediatric Neurology Society 02/2012; 16(5):542-8. DOI:10.1016/j.ejpn.2012.01.013 · 1.93 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Intermittent hypoglycemia has been described in association with Alpers' syndrome, a disorder caused by mutations in the mitochondrial DNA polymerase gamma gene. In some patients hypoglycemia may define the initial disease presentation well before the onset of the classical Alpers' triad of psychomotor retardation, intractable seizures, and liver failure. Correlating with the genotype, POLG pathogenicity is a result of increased mitochondrial DNA mutability, and mitochondrial DNA depletion resulting in energy deficient states. Hypoglycemia therefore could be secondary to any metabolic pathway affected by ATP deficiency. Although it has been speculated that hypoglycemia is due to secondary fatty acid oxidation defects or abnormal gluconeogenesis, the exact underlying etiology is still unclear. Here we present detailed studies on carbohydrate metabolism in an Alpers' patient who presented initially exclusively with intermittent episodes of hypoglycemia and ketosis. Our results do not support a defect in gluconeogenesis or fatty acid oxidation as the cause of hypoglycemia. In contrast, studies performed on liver biopsy suggested abnormal glycogenolysis. This is shown via decreased activities of glycogen brancher and debrancher enzymes with normal glycogen structure and increased glycogen on histology of the liver specimen. To our knowledge, this is the first report documenting abnormalities in glycogen metabolism in a patient with Alpers' syndrome.
    11/2013; DOI:10.1007/8904_2013_280
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial DNA mutations have been associated with different illnesses in humans, such as Kearns-Sayre syndrome (KSS), which is related to deletions of different sizes and positions among patients. Here, we report a Mexican patient with typical features of KSS containing a novel deletion of 7629 bp in size with 85% heteroplasmy, which has not been previously reported. Sequence analysis revealed 3-bp perfect short direct repeats flanking the deletion region, in addition to 7-bp imperfect direct repeats within 9-10 bp. Furthermore, sequencing, alignment and phylogenetic analysis of the hypervariable region revealed that the patient may belong to a founder Native American haplogroup C4c.
    Mitochondrial DNA 02/2013; DOI:10.3109/19401736.2012.760550 · 1.70 Impact Factor

Full-text (3 Sources)

Available from
Jun 3, 2014