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December 1978

Reincarnation in Cultured Muscle of Mitochondrial Abnormalities: Two Patients With Epilepsy and Lactic Acidosis

Author Affiliations

From the National Institute of Neurological Communicative Disorders and Stroke, Bethesda, Md.

Arch Neurol. 1978;35(12):801-809. doi:10.1001/archneur.1978.00500360025005

• Two unrelated 9-year-old boys failed to thrive from ages 5 and 4 years, and had focal cerebral seizures followed by transcent hemipareses. Histochemistry of their muscle biopsies showed "ragged-red" fibers, which ultrastructurally contained clusters of mitochondria having loss of crisp delineation of crista membranes and contained amorphous inclusion material and parallel-packed cristae and sometimes paracrystalline inclusions.

In the patients' cultured muscles, similar mitochondrial abnormalities were present. 2,4-Dinitrophenol, introduced to the medium of cultures of normal human muscle, produced mitochondrial abnormalities similar to those of the patients', and the medium of the patients' muscle cultures worsened the mitochondrial abnormalities. This study, in demonstrating a mitochondrial defect reproducible in the cultured muscle fibers and, therefore, intrinsic to the ragged-red muscle fibers themselves, raises the possibility of a collateral mitochondrial defect in CNS cells as part of a multicellular mitochondriopathy.

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