Next generation sequencing technologies for a successful diagnosis in a cold case of Leigh syndrome

BMC Neurol. 2018 Jul 20;18(1):99. doi: 10.1186/s12883-018-1103-7.


Background: Leigh Syndrome (LS, OMIM 256000) is an early-onset, progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by broad clinical and genetic heterogeneity; it is the most frequent disorder of mitochondrial energy production in children. LS inheritance is complex because patients may present mutations in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) or in nuclear genes, which predominantly encode proteins involved in respiratory chain structure and assembly or in coenzyme Q10 biogenesis. However, during the last 15 years, the discovery of several genetic mutations and improved knowledge of the natural history of LS has significantly increased our understanding of this mitochondrial disorder.

Case presentation: Here we describe a 19-year-old male with clinical and neuroimaging LS diagnosed at 3 years of age. Genetic analyses of the whole mtDNA for maternally inherited LS (MILS) and neuropathy ataxia retinitis pigmentosa (NARP) syndrome failed to reveal any pathogenic mutations.

Conclusions: Recently, a missense mutation in ECHS1 and a ~ 35 kb deletion in 10q26.3 involving the region including the gene were identified by WES (whole exome sequencing), uncovering the genetic diagnosis clinically hypothesized for 15 years. We also report the long-term follow-up of this patient, showing a comparison with classical LS or other Leigh-like pictures.

Keywords: ECHS1 gene; Exome analysis; Leigh disease.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Genetic Heterogeneity
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing*
  • Humans
  • Leigh Disease* / diagnosis
  • Leigh Disease* / genetics
  • Male
  • Whole Genome Sequencing*