Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variants associated with Alzheimer disease (AD) and Parkinson disease (PD) were sought by restriction endonuclease analysis in a cohort of 71 late-onset Caucasian patients. A tRNAGln gene variant at nucleotide pair (np) 4336 that altered a moderately conserved nucleotide was present in 9/173 (5.2%) of the patients surveyed but in only 0.7% of the general Caucasian controls. One of these patients harbored an additional novel 12S rRNA 5-nucleotide insertion at np 956-965, while a second had a missense variant at np 3397 that converted a highly conserved methionine to a valine. This latter mutation was also found in an independent AD + PD patient, as was a heteroplasmic 16S rRNA variant at np 3196. Additional studies will be required to determine the significance, if any, of these mutations.
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