Background: Leigh syndrome (LS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder associated with primary or secondary dysfunction of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation and is the most common mitochondrial disease in childhood. Numerous reports on the biochemical and molecular profiles of LS have been published, but there are limited studies on genetically confirmed large series. We reviewed the clinical, imaging, biochemical and molecular data of 122 patients with a diagnosis of LS collected in the Italian Collaborative Network of Mitochondrial Diseases database. Results: Clinical picture was characterized by early onset of several neurological signs dominated by central nervous system involvement associated with both supra- and sub-tentorial grey matter at MRI in the majority of cases. Extraneurological organ involvement is less frequent in LS than expected for a mitochondrial disorder. Complex I and IV deficiencies were the most common biochemical diagnoses, mostly associated with mutations in SURF1 or mitochondrial-DNA genes encoding complex I subunits. Our data showed SURF1 as the genotype with the most unfavorable prognosis, differently from other cohorts reported to date. Conclusion: We report on a large genetically defined LS cohort, adding new data on phenotype-genotype correlation, prognostic factors and possible suggestions to diagnostic workup.
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