To date, only few mutations in the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)-encoded ND2 subunit of Complex I have been reported, usually presenting a severe phenotype characterized by early onset encephalomyopathy and early death. In this report, we describe a new mutation in the MTND2 gene in a 21-year-old man with a mild myopathic phenotype characterized by exercise intolerance and increased plasma lactate at rest. Electromyography and brain NMR were normal, and no cardiac involvement was present. Muscle biopsy showed a massive presence of ragged red - COX-positive fibres, with enlarged mitochondria containing osmiophilic inclusions. Biochemical assays revealed a severe isolated complex I deficiency. We identified a novel, heteroplasmic mutation m.4831G > A in the MTND2 gene, causing the p.Gly121Asp substitution in the ND2 protein. The mutation was present in the 95% of mitochondrial genomes from patient's muscle tissue, at a lower level in cells from the urinary tract and at a lowest level in lymphocytes from patient's blood; the base substitution was absent in fibroblasts and in the tissues from proband's healthy mother and brother. The specific skeletal muscle tissue involvement can explain the childhood-onset and the relatively benign, exclusively myopathic course of the disease.
- Journal Article