Background: Previous studies have shown that mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations are often present in patients with myocardial dysfunction. We sought to assess the prevalence and significance of heart mtDNA sequence changes in patients with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Methods and Results: DNA sequence of all the transfer ribonucleic acid (tRNA), ribosomal RNA (rRNA), and structural genes in cardiac mtDNA of 28 patients with DCM was determined and compared with a control group that had no evidence of heart disease. An increased number of point mutations were found in DCM cardiac mtDNA when compared with controls. Both novel and previously reported mutations were found in mitochondrial tRNA and structural genes. One of these mutations was heteroplasmic and resulted in changing a highly conserved nucleotide in tRNAArg. Novel, heteroplasmic mtDNA mutations (n = 4) specifying changes in moderate to highly conserved amino acid residues were found in COII, COIII, ND5, and cytb. These novel mtDNA mutations were found only in patients with severe reduction in mitochondrial enzyme activities. Conclusions: Our results indicate that a high incidence of mtDNA nucleotide sequence changes in both tRNA and structural genes are present in DCM. Five heteroplasmic mutations were detected that both changed evolutionarily conserved residues (which may impair the function of proteins or tRNAs) and were associated with specific enzymatic defects. These mutations could play an important role in the pathogenesis of cardiomyopathy.
- Dilated cardiomyopathy
- Oxidative phosphorylation