Sporadic MERRF/MELAS overlap syndrome associated with the 3243 tRNA(Leu(UUR)) mutation of mitochondrial DNA

Muscle Nerve. 1996 Feb;19(2):187-90. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-4598(199602)19:2<187::AID-MUS10>3.0.CO;2-S.


We studied a patient with a mitochondrial encephalomyopathy characterized by the presence of all the cardinal features of both myoclonic epilepsy and ragged-red fibers (MERRF) and mitochondrial encephalomyopathy, lactic acidosis, and strokelike episodes (MELAS) syndromes. Muscle biopsy showed ragged-red fibers (RRF). Some RRF were cytochrome c oxidase (COX)-negative while some others stained positive for COX. Muscle biochemistry revealed defects of complexes I and IV of the respiratory chain. Both muscle and blood mitochondrial DNA from the patient showed the presence of the mutation at nucleotide position 3243 in the tRNA(Leu(UUR)) gene and the absence of point mutations related to MERRF syndrome. The proportions of mutant mtDNA were 70% in muscle and 30% in blood. The mutation was absent in blood from all maternal relatives, in hair follicles from the mother, and in muscle from one sister of the proband. Therefore, there was no evidence of maternal inheritance.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics
  • Humans
  • MELAS Syndrome / genetics*
  • MERRF Syndrome / genetics*
  • Male
  • Mutation
  • RNA, Transfer, Leu / genetics*


  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • RNA, Transfer, Leu