An infant with lactic acidosis and developmental delay had neuropathological changes consistent with Leigh's necrotizing encephalomyelopathy. Total pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC) activity was low relative to controls in lymphocytes (0.2 versus 1.9 ± 0.6 SD nmol/min/mg protein) and cultured skin fibroblasts (0.9 versus 2.7 ± 1.0). Liver, muscle, heart, and kidney mitochondria oxidized several substrates normally, but did not oxidize pyruvate. PDC activity was absent in these mitochondria (0.1 versus 9.8 ± 4.2 in liver and 0.7 versus 75 ± 26 in muscle) and was very low in all tissue homogenates. Activity of the first component was low in liver mitochondria, whereas activities of the second and third components were normal. Western blot analysis of tissue proteins showed normal amounts of second and third component of PDC but undetectable to trace amounts of both α and β subunits of the first component of PDC in liver, brain, kidney, heart, and skin fibroblasts. Thus, profound systemic deficiency of PDC was due to lack of both subunit proteins of the first component of PDC.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health