Mitochondrial encephalomyopathy. A variant with heart failure and liver steatosis

Acta Neuropathol. 1987;74(3):287-93. doi: 10.1007/BF00688194.


We report the clinical and autopsy findings in a young man of 18 with a chronic progressive disorder comprised of lactic acidosis, mental deterioration, and epileptic seizures which were sometimes accompanied by stroke-like episodes with transient hemiparesis and cortical blindness. He died of congestive heart failure. The autopsy showed lesions of the gray matter of the brain. Both the putamen and parieto-occipital cortex showed loss of neurons and proliferation of macrophages, astrocytes and vessels. There was marked loss of neurons in the inferior olives, and slight reduction of the number of Purkinje cells. Skeletal muscle studies revealed ragged-red fibers and structurally abnormal mitochondria. The heart was enlarged: accumulations of mitochondria occurred in the muscle fibers. The liver exhibited marked fatty degeneration. Biochemical analyses showed normal activities of pyruvate dehydrogenase in thrombocytes, pyruvate carboxylase in lymphocytes, biotinidase in serum as well as succinate dehydrogenase and cytochrome c oxidase. The features of this disorder differ in many respects from cases of mitochondrial encephalomyopathy previously reported and cannot be assigned to any specific disease entity.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acidosis, Lactic / complications
  • Acidosis, Lactic / pathology
  • Adolescent
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Brain Diseases / complications
  • Brain Diseases / pathology*
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / complications
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / pathology
  • Fatty Liver / complications
  • Fatty Liver / pathology
  • Heart Failure / complications
  • Heart Failure / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mitochondria / pathology*
  • Muscular Diseases / complications
  • Muscular Diseases / pathology*