Mitochondrial myopathies are clinically heterogeneous disorders that can affect multiple systems besides skeletal muscle (mitochondrial encephalomyopathies or cytopathies) and are usually defined by morphological abnormalities of muscle mitochondria. There are a few distinctive syndromes, such as the Kearns-Sayre syndrome; myoclonus epilepsy with ragged-red fibers; and mitochondrial myopathy, encephalopathy, lactic acidosis, and strokelike episodes. Biochemically, mitochondrial myopathies can be divided into defects of substrate utilization, oxidation-phosphorylation coupling, and the respiratory chain. Because mitochondria have their own DNA and their own translation and transcription apparatuses, mitochondrial myopathies can be due to defects of either a nuclear or mitochondrial genome and can be transmitted by mendelian or maternal inheritance.
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