This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
Mitochondrial genetic disorders refer to a group of conditions that affect the mitochondria (the structures in each cell of the body that are responsible for making energy). People with these conditions can present at any age with almost any affected body system; however, the brain, muscles, heart, liver, nerves, eyes, ears and kidneys are the organs and tissues most commonly affected. Symptom severity can also vary widely. Mitochondrial genetic disorders can be caused by changes (mutations) in either the mitochondrial DNA or nuclear DNA that lead to dysfunction of the mitochondria and inadequate production of energy. Those caused by mutations in mitochondrial DNA are transmitted by maternal inheritance, while those caused by mutations in nuclear DNA may follow an autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive, or X-linked pattern of inheritance. Treatment varies based on the specific type of condition and the signs and symptoms present in each person.
For more information, visit GARD.