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mitochondrial toxicity
Mar 14, 2000

I've been hearing a lot lately about mitochondrial toxicity and I know one of the most common signs of MT is muscle weakness. I'm 52 and have been positive for around 10 years. My viral load is 15,000 and my t-cell count 450. I'm not on any medicines. I do have some general muscle weakness though and wonder how common this toxicity is and in general if I should worry about it or report it to my doctor. Thanks for your help!


Response from Dr. Kakuda


Dysfunctional mitochondria in the muscles can lead to a condition known as "mitochondrial myopathy" which manifests itself as muscle weakness and fatigue. The famous cyclist Greg LeMond retired in 1994 due to this disease. Mitochondrial myopathy is a rare disorder that is either inherited or acquired. In the context of HIV infection, acquired mitochondrial myopathy is usually due to zidovudine but only rarely (less than 5%) -- since you are not on any medications, it is unlikely that this is the cause. In general, the inherited form of mitochondrial myopathy expresses itself in early childhood but can occur in later years. It is a rare condition. HIV infection itself causes muscle weakness and this or other reasons may be a more likely cause of your condition. TNK

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