Sporadic inclusion body myositis (sIBM) is one of the most common myopathies in elderly people. Mitochondrial abnormalities at the histological level are present in these patients. We hypothesize that mitochondrial dysfunction may play a role in disease aetiology. We took the following measurements of muscle and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from 30 sIBM patients and 38 age- and gender-paired controls: mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) deletions, amount of mtDNA and mtRNA, mitochondrial protein synthesis, mitochondrial respiratory chain (MRC) complex I and IV enzymatic activity, mitochondrial mass, oxidative stress and mitochondrial dynamics (mitofusin 2 and optic atrophy 1 levels). Depletion of mtDNA was present in muscle from sIBM patients and PBMCs showed deregulated expression of mitochondrial proteins in oxidative phosphorylation. MRC complex IV/citrate synthase activity was significantly decreased in both tissues and mitochondrial dynamics were affected in muscle. Depletion of mtDNA was significantly more severe in patients with mtDNA deletions, which also presented deregulation of mitochondrial fusion proteins. Imbalance in mitochondrial dynamics in muscle was associated with increased mitochondrial genetic disturbances (both depletion and deletions), demonstrating that proper mitochondrial turnover is essential for mitochondrial homoeostasis and muscle function in these patients.

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