Fatal infantile liver failure associated with mitochondrial DNA depletion

Mercedes R.M. Mazziotta, Enzo Ricci, Enrico Bertini, Cario Dionisi Vici, Serenella Servidei, Alberto B. Burlina, Gaetano Sabetta, Andrea Bartuli, Giovanni Manfredi, Gabriella Silvestri, Carlos T. Moraes, Salvatore DiMauro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


A 3-month-old girl was admitted to the hospital because of hypotonia and frequent vomiting. She had severe metabolic acidosis and her liver function was abnormal. Hepatomegaly and rapidly progressive liver failure developed, and she died at 4 months of age. Two half-siblings from a different mother had died in infancy of an undiagnosed myopathy. The liver was fatty and hepatocytes were filled with large and small lipid droplets. Other tissues were morphologically normal. The respiratory chain enzymes containing subunits encoded by mitochondrial DNA were markedly decreased in liver, partially decreased in muscle, but normal in other tissues. Southern blot analysis showed 90% depletion of mitochondrial DNA in liver, 53% depletion in muscle, and normal amounts in other tissues. This is the second case of fatal infantile liver failure associated with mitochondrial DNA depletion. This pathogenetic mechanism should be considered in infants with multiple respiratory chain defects and variable tissue expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)896-901
Number of pages6
JournalThe Journal of Pediatrics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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