Background: Mitochondrial myopathy, encephalopathy, lactic acidosis and stroke-like episodes (MELAS) syndrome, is the most common phenotype of mitochondrial disease. It often develops in childhood or adolescence, usually before the age of 40, in a maternally-inherited manner. Mutations in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) are frequently responsible for MELAS.
Case presentation: A 55-year-old man, who had no family or past history of mitochondrial disorders, suddenly developed bilateral visual field constriction and repeated stroke-like episodes. He ultimately presented with cortical blindness, recurrent epilepsy and severe cognitive impairment approximately 6 months after the first episode. Genetic analysis of biopsied biceps brachii muscle, but not of peripheral white blood cells, revealed a T10158C mutation in the mtDNA-encoded gene of NADH dehydrogenase subunit 3 (ND3), which has previously been thought to be associated with severe or fatal mitochondrial disorders that develop during the neonatal period or in infancy.
Conclusion: A T10158C mutation in the ND3 gene can cause atypical adult-onset stroke-like episodes in a sporadic manner.
Keywords: Cognitive impairment; MELAS; Mitochondrial ND3 gene; Sporadic; T10158C.