Large scale screening of the mitochondrial DNA reveals no pathogenic mutations but a haplotype associated with multiple sclerosis in Caucasians

Acta Neurol Scand. 1999 Jan;99(1):16-25. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0404.1999.tb00653.x.


We report the first large-scale screening of mitochondrial (mt) DNA in 77 Caucasian patients with relapsing-remitting or secondary progressive form of multiple sclerosis (MS) and in 84 Caucasian controls by using the method of restriction site polymorphism and haplotype analysis. No pathogenic mtDNA mutation was found in association with MS. However, mtDNA haplotypes K* and J* defined by the simultaneous presence of Ddel restriction sites at nucleotides 10,394 and 14,798 of the mtDNA in haplogroups K and J showed association with MS at a P-value of 0.001. A relative increase of MS patients compared to controls either with the J* or with the K* haplotype (+10,394Ddel/+14,798Ddel in haplogroup J or K) also was detected (each with a P<0.05). No distinct phenotypic characteristics of MS were observed when clinical data of patients with haplotypes K* or J* were analyzed. In addition to previous complete sequencing in several MS patients, the population screening of mtDNA presented here suggests that mtDNA point mutations are not likely to be involved in the pathogenesis of typical forms of MS. However, the mitochondrial genetic background (haplotype K* and J*) may moderately contribute to MS susceptibility. The reported association between MS and Leber's hereditary optic nerve atrophy, a disease caused by mtDNA point mutations preferentially occurring in haplogroup J, may be at least in part related to the overlapping mitochondrial genetic background of the two diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Female
  • Haplotypes
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / genetics*
  • Optic Atrophies, Hereditary / genetics
  • Point Mutation
  • Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • White People / genetics*


  • DNA, Mitochondrial