Mitochondrial diabetes is a kind of rare diabetes caused by monogenic mutation in mitochondria. The study aimed to summarize the clinical phenotype profiles in mitochondrial diabetes with m.3243 A>G mitochondrial DNA mutation and to investigate the mechanism in this kind of diabetes by analyzing the relationship among clinical phenotypes and peripheral leukocyte DNA telomere length.
Fifteen patients with maternally inherited diabetes in five families were confirmed as carrying the m.3243 A>G mitochondrial DNA mutation. One hundred patients with type 2 diabetes and one hundred healthy control subjects were recruited to participate in the study. Sanger sequencing was used to detect the m.3243 A>G mitochondrial DNA mutation. The peak height G/A ratio in the sequence diagram was calculated. Real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to measure telomere length.
The patients with mitochondrial diabetes all had definite maternally inherited history, normal BMI (19.5 ± 2.36 kg/m(2)), early onset of diabetes (35.0 ± 14.6 years) and deafness. The peak height G/A ratio correlated significantly and negatively with the age at onset of diabetes (≦ 25 years, 61.6 ± 20.17%; 25-45 years, 16.59 ± 8.64%; >45 years, 6.37 ± 0.59%; p = 0.000). Telomere length was significantly shorter among patients with mitochondrial diabetes and type 2 diabetes than in the control group (1.28 ± 0.54 vs. 1.14 ± 0.43 vs. 1.63 ± 0.61; p = 0.000). However, there was no significant difference between patients with mitochondrial diabetes and those with type 2 diabetes. There was no correlation between telomere length and the peak height G/A ratio.
Deafness with definite maternal inheritance and normal BMI, associated with elevated blood lactic acid and encephalomyopathy, for the most part, suggest the diagnosis of mitochondrial diabetes . The peak height G/A ratio could reflect the spectrum of age at onset of the disease. Telomere length was shorter in patients with mitochondrial diabetes and those with type 2 diabetes, which suggests that the shorter telomere length is likely involved in the pathogenesis of diabetes but is not specific for this kind of diabetes.