Neuroimaging of Mitochondrial Cytopathies

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Mitochondrial diseases are a complex and heterogeneous group of genetic disorders that occur as a result of either nuclear DNA or mitochondrial DNA pathogenic variants, leading to a decrease in oxidative phosphorylation and cellular energy (ATP) production. Increasing knowledge about molecular, biochemical, and genetic abnormalities related to mitochondrial dysfunction has expanded the neuroimaging phenotypes of mitochondrial disorders. As a consequence of this growing field, the imaging recognition patterns of mitochondrial cytopathies are continually evolving. In this review, we describe the main neuroimaging characteristics of pediatric mitochondrial diseases, ranging from classical to more recent and challenging features. Due to the increased knowledge about the imaging findings of mitochondrial cytopathies, the pediatric neuroradiologist plays a crucial role in the diagnosis and evaluation of these patients.

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