A case of mitochondrial cytopathy with a typical point mutation for MELAS, presenting with severe focal-segmental glomerulosclerosis as main clinical manifestation

Am J Nephrol. 1998;18(6):551-6. doi: 10.1159/000013406.


A 27-year-old female with short stature and mild hearing loss was diagnosed as having focal-segmental glomerulosclerosis by renal biopsy at our hospital. One year later she developed progressive renal dysfunction and cardiac failure and was admitted again to our hospital for evaluation. Though her only neurological disorder was mild hearing loss, her short stature and elevated lactate and pyruvate values in cerebrospinal fluid suggested mitochondrial cytopathy. A muscle biopsy specimen of the left biceps brachii, using modified Gomori trichrome stain, showed a typical image of ragged-red fibers, and an increased number of giant mitochondria with paracrystalline inclusions were visible by electron microscopy. Mitochondrial DNA from the skeletal muscle showed an A-to-G transition at 3243 of transfer RNALeu(UUR), the common point mutation for mitochondrial myopathy, encephalopathy, lactic acidosis, and strokelike episodes. These data confirmed the diagnosis of atypical mitochondrial cytopathy with renal and heart involvement. Mitochondrial cytopathies are often associated with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy but rarely with renal disease. Among the few reported cases with associated renal disease, most included renal tubular disorders; few cases with focal glomerular sclerosis are known. The present case of atypical mitochondrial cytopathy was characterized by a unique clinical course and rare complications with focal-segmental glomerulosclerosis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Glomerulosclerosis, Focal Segmental / complications*
  • Glomerulosclerosis, Focal Segmental / pathology
  • Humans
  • Kidney / pathology
  • MELAS Syndrome / complications*
  • MELAS Syndrome / diagnosis
  • MELAS Syndrome / genetics
  • Point Mutation