Pre-excitation syndrome is common in families with Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON). 24 Finnish families with LHON were screened for the 11778 and the 3460 mitochondrial DNA mutations. 5 of 30 individuals with LHON and the 11778 mutation had the Wolff-Parkinson-White pre-excitation syndrome. None of 10 with the 3460 mutation or of 11 with "other" mutations had this syndrome. Overall, 5 of 51 LHON patients and 9 of 112 symptom-free maternal relatives had Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome (9%). In paternal relatives, the frequency was 1.6%. Mitochondrial DNA causal for LHON may contribute to pre-excitation syndrome.