Atypical presentation of Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy associated to mtDNA 11778G>A point mutation—A case report


      Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) is a maternally inherited mitochondrial disorder characterized by bilateral loss of central vision, most frequently found in young adult males. In most patients there are no other neurological manifestations and cerebral neuroimaging is normal, but some rare cases of “LHON plus” have been described. Classical LHON is mainly associated to mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations 11778G>A, 3460G>A and 14484T>C, localized in the coding regions for ND4, ND1 and ND6 of the complex I subunits of mitochondrial respiratory chain (MRC), respectively.
      We report a 12-year-old girl who presented with reduced visual acuity secondary to optic atrophy at 8 months of age, which led to a clinical diagnosis of LHON. Psychomotor regression, refractory epilepsy and progressive neurological abnormalities developed subsequently. Skeletal muscle histology and biochemical MRC function were normal (evaluated by dual wavelength spectrophotometry). A 11778G>A mtDNA point mutation (investigated by standard PCR and automatic sequencing methods) was identified in lymphocytes isolated from peripheral blood, muscle biopsy and cultured skin fibroblasts. The mother and other maternal relatives are carriers for the same mutation. This case is unusual for age of onset, gender, associated neurological findings and evolution.


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