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Frequency of MELAS main mutation in a phenotype-targeted young ischemic stroke patient population

Journal article
Authors Turgut Tatlisumak
J. Putaala
M. Innila
C. Enzinger
T. M. Metso
S. Curtze
B. von Sarnowski
A. Amaral-Silva
G. J. Jungehulsing
C. Tanislav
V. Thijs
A. Rolfs
B. Norrving
F. Fazekas
A. Suomalainen
E. H. Kolodny
Published in Journal of Neurology
Volume 263
Issue 2
Pages 257-262
ISSN 0340-5354
Publication year 2016
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology
Pages 257-262
Language en
Keywords Mitochondrion, Ischemic stroke, Young, Diagnosis, MELAS, Mitochondrial disease, Mutation, mitochondrial-dna mutations, fabry patients sifap1, m.3243a-greater-than-g mutation, management, disorders, decrease, episodes, disease, risk, Neurosciences & Neurology
Subject categories Neurosciences


Mitochondrial diseases, predominantly mitochondrial encephalomyopathy, lactic acidosis, and stroke-like episodes (MELAS), may occasionally underlie or coincide with ischemic stroke (IS) in young and middle-aged individuals. We searched for undiagnosed patients with MELAS in a target subpopulation of unselected young IS patients enrolled in the Stroke in Young Fabry Patients study (sifap1). Among the 3291 IS patients aged 18-55 years recruited to the sifap1 study at 47 centers across 14 European countries, we identified potential MELAS patients with the following phenotypic features: (a) diagnosed cardiomyopathy or (b) presence of two of the three following findings: migraine, short stature (a parts per thousand currency sign165 cm for males; a parts per thousand currency sign155 cm for females), and diabetes. Identified patients' blood samples underwent analysis of the common MELAS mutation, m.3243A > G in the MTTL1 gene of mitochondrial DNA. Clinical and cerebral MRI features of the mutation carriers were reviewed. We analyzed blood samples of 238 patients (177 with cardiomyopathy) leading to identification of four previously unrecognized MELAS main mutation carrier-patients. Their clinical and MRI characteristics were within the expectation for common IS patients except for severe hearing loss in one patient and hyperintensity of the pulvinar thalami on T1-weighted MRI in another one. Genetic testing for the m.3243A > G MELAS mutation in young patients with IS based on phenotypes suggestive of mitochondrial disease identifies previously unrecognized carriers of MELAS main mutation, but does not prove MELAS as the putative cause.

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