Quantitative determination of heteroplasmy in Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy by single-strand conformation polymorphism

Y. Mashima, M. Saga, Y. Hiida, Y. Oguchi, M. Wakakura, J. Kudoh, N. Shimizu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose. The maternal inheritance of Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) is caused by defects in the genes of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). The most prevalent mtDNA mutation, present in 40% to 90% of families with this disease, is a G to A substitution at nucleotide position 11778. The rapid and accurate quantification of heteroplasmy of this mutation will help determine the relative risk for disease expression. Methods. The authors conducted screening tests for heteroplasmy in 44 visually affected patients with the 11778 mutation and 34 unaffected members of 36 Japanese families with LHON using the single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis. This method can detect even a single base difference between the sequences of wild type and mutant DNA strands. The percentage of mutant mtDNA was calculated using an image analyzer. Results. Single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis allowed the detection of heteroplasmy ranging from 5% to 95%. Five (14%) of the 36 families showed heteroplasmy, and 14 (18%) of the 78 persons tested had heteroplasmy ranging from 10% to 94%. Seven patients with heteroplasmy with visual loss had mutant mtDNA ranging from 62% to 94%. Conclusions. Single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis is rapid, efficient, and accurate for detecting point mutations and quantifying heteroplasmy in mtDNA. Individuals with heteroplasmy with less than 60% of mutant mtDNA in circulating leukocytes are probably at lesser risk for developing optic atrophy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1714-1720
Number of pages7
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1995


  • 11778 mutation
  • Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy
  • heteroplasmy
  • mitochondrial DNA
  • single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Quantitative determination of heteroplasmy in Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy by single-strand conformation polymorphism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this