A novel feature of demyelinating polyneuropathy was observed in a patient with the tRNA(Leu(UUR)) mutation at base pair 3243 of the mitochondrial DNA. Based on electrodiagnostic examination, the polyneuropathy was defined as being of the demyelinating, mixed (motor more than sensory) type. In a 1-year follow-up we observed approximately 7% reduction in both the motor and sensory conduction velocities. The other clinical features of the proband included a mild to moderate cognitive impairment and a combined hearing loss with a moderate sensorineural component. The proportion of the mutant genome found in the muscle of the proband was 29%, but the mutation was not found in his blood. A wide variability of the clinical phenotype was observed in the family of the proband. Heteroplasmic mutation was detected in the blood of most family members. The proportion of abnormal mitochondrial DNA was highest in the proband's brother, who had clinically definite mitochondrial myopathy, encephalopathy, lactic acidosis, and stroke-like episodes (MELAS) syndrome, while the mutant genome was less frequent or absent in the subjects with less severe phenotypes and in healthy individuals. The findings on this pedigree emphasize the need for studies of complete families in the search for new clinical phenotypes of mutations in mitochondrial DNA.