Background Population-based studies suggest the m.3243A>G mutation in MTTL1 is the most common disease-causing mtDNA mutation, with a carrier rate of 1 in 400 people. The m.3243A>G mutation is associated with several clinical syndromes including mitochondrial encephalopathy lactic acidosis and stroke-like episodes (MELAS), maternally inherited deafness and diabetes (MIDD) and progressive external ophthalmoplegia (PEO). Many patients affected by this mutation exhibit a clinical phenotype that does not fall within accepted criteria for the currently recognised classical mitochondrial syndromes.
Methods We have defined the phenotypic spectrum associated with the m.3243A>G mtDNA mutation in 129 patients, from 83 unrelated families, recruited to the Mitochondrial Disease Patient Cohort Study UK.
Results 10% of patients exhibited a classical MELAS phenotype, 30% had MIDD, 6% MELAS/MIDD, 2% MELAS/chronic PEO (CPEO) and 5% MIDD/CPEO overlap syndromes. 6% had PEO and other features of mitochondrial disease not consistent with another recognised syndrome. Isolated sensorineural hearing loss occurred in 3%. 28% of patients demonstrated a panoply of clinical features, which were not consistent with any of the classical syndromes associated with the m.3243A>G mutation. 9% of individuals harbouring the mutation were clinically asymptomatic.
Conclusion Following this study we propose guidelines for screening and for the management of confirmed cases.
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