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Recognition, investigation and management of mitochondrial disease
  1. James E Davison1,
  2. Shamima Rahman1,2
  1. 1 Metabolic Unit,Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  2. 2 Mitochondrial Research Group,UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Shamima Rahman, Mitochondrial Research Group, Institute of Child Health, UCL Great Ormond Street, London WC1N1EH, UK; shamima.rahman{at}


Mitochondria are dynamic organelles present in virtually all human cells that are needed for a multitude of cellular functions, including energy production, control of cell apoptosis and numerous biochemical catabolic and synthetic pathways that are critical for cellular health. Primary mitochondrial disorders are a group of greater than 200 single gene defects arising from two genomes (nuclear and mitochondrial) leading to mitochondrial dysfunction, and are associated with extremely heterogeneous phenotypes. Neuromuscular features predominate, but often with multisystem involvement. Clinical suspicion of a mitochondrial disorder should prompt multipronged investigation with biochemical and molecular genetic studies. Recent wide-scale adoption of next-generation sequencing approaches has led to a rapid increase in the number of disease genes. The advances in unravelling the genetic landscape of mitochondrial diseases have not yet been matched by progress in developing effective therapies, and the mainstay of care remains supportive therapies in a multidisciplinary team setting.

  • Mitochondrial disease
  • clinical phenotypes
  • diagnosis
  • next generation sequencing
  • treatment

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  • Contributors JED drafted the manuscript. SR co-wrote and critically revised the manuscript.

  • Funding SR is supported by a Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity Research Leadership Award (V1260) and her group currently receives research grant funding from the Lily Foundation and the National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust and University College London.

  • Competing interests SR has received grant funding from Vitaflo International Ltd.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Correction notice This paper has been amended since it was published Online First. Owing to a scripting error, some of the publisher names in the references were replaced with ‘BMJ Publishing Group’. This only affected the full text version, not the PDF. We have since corrected these errors and the correct publishers have been inserted into the references.

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