A 2-week-old boy had profound generalized weakness, hypotonia, hyporeflexia, macroglossia, and severe lactic acidosis. The infant improved spontaneously: he held his head at 4 1/2 months, rolled over at 7 months, and walked by 16 months. At 33 months of age, he had mild proximal weakness. Macroglossia disappeared by age 4 months. Blood lactic acid declined steadily and was normal by 14 months of age. Histochemical and ultrastructural studies of muscle biopsy specimens obtained at 1 and 7 months of age showed excessive mitochondria, lipid, and glycogen; a third biopsy at age 36 months showed only atrophy of scattered fibers. Cytochrome c oxidase stain was positive in fewer than 5% of fibers in the first biopsy, in approximately 60% of fibers in the second biopsy, and in all fibers in the third biopsy. Biochemical analysis showed an isolated defect of cytochrome c oxidase activity, which was only 8% of the lowest control level in the first biopsy; the activity increased to 47% in the second biopsy and was higher than normal in the third. In contrast to that in the fatal infantile form of cytochrome c oxidase deficiency, the enzyme defect in this condition is reversible. The biochemical basis for this difference remains to be explained.