We describe a patient with chronic progressive external ophthalmoplegia (CPEO) due to a rare mitochondrial genetic variant. Muscle biopsy revealed numerous cytochrome c oxidase (COX)-deficient fibres, prompting sequencing of the entire mitochondrial genome in muscle which revealed a rare m.12334G>A variant in the mitochondrial (mt-) tRNALeu(CUN)(MT-TL2) gene. Analysis of several tissues showed this to be a de novo mutational event. Single fibre studies confirmed the segregation of high m.12334G>A heteroplasmy levels with the COX histochemical defect, confirming pathogenicity of the m.12334G>A MT-TL2 variant. This case illustrates the importance of pursuing molecular genetic analysis in clinically-affected tissues when mitochondrial disease is suspected.
Keywords: CPEO; Chronic progressive external ophthalmoplegia; cytochrome c oxidase; mitochondrial DNA.