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Cysteine Supplementation May be Beneficial in a Subgroup of Mitochondrial Translation Deficiencies

Lookup NU author(s): Marina Bartsakoulia, Dr Juliane Mueller, Dr Aurora Gomez Duran, Dr Patrick Yu Wai Man, Dr Veronika Boczonadi, Professor Rita HorvathORCiD


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© 2016 - IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved. Mitochondrial encephalomyopathies are severe, relentlessly progressive conditions and there are very few effective therapies available to date. We have previously suggested that in two rare forms of reversible mitochondrial disease (reversible infantile respiratory chain deficiency and reversible infantile hepatopathy) supplementation with L-cysteine can improve mitochondrial protein synthesis, since cysteine is required for the 2-thiomodification of mitochondrial tRNAs. Objectives: We studied whether supplementation with L-cysteine or N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) results in any improvement of the mitochondrial function in vitro in fibroblasts of patients with different genetic forms of abnormal mitochondrial translation. Methods: We studied in vitro in fibroblasts of patients carrying the common m.3243A>G and m.8344A>G mutations or autosomal recessive mutations in genes affecting mitochondrial translation, whether L-cysteine or N-acetyl-cysteine supplementation have an effect on mitochondrial respiratory chain function. Results: Here we show that supplementation with L-cysteine, but not with N-acetyl-cysteine partially rescues the mitochondrial translation defect in vitro in fibroblasts of patients carrying the m.3243A>G and m.8344A>G mutations. In contrast, N-acetyl-cysteine had a beneficial effect on mitochondrial translation in TRMU and MTO1 deficient fibroblasts. Conclusions: Our results suggest that L-cysteine or N-acetyl-cysteine supplementation may be a potential treatment for selected subgroups of patients with mitochondrial translation deficiencies. Further studies are needed to explore the full potential of cysteine supplementation as a treatment for patients with mitochondrial disease.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bartsakoulia M, Müller JS, Gomez-Duran A, Yu-Wai-Man P, Boczonadi V, Horvath R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Neuromuscular Diseases

Year: 2016

Volume: 3

Issue: 3

Pages: 363-379

Online publication date: 30/08/2016

Acceptance date: 02/04/2016

ISSN (print): 2214-3599

ISSN (electronic): 2214-3602

Publisher: IOS Press


DOI: 10.3233/JND-160178


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