Autosomal recessive LPIN1mutations have been recently described as a novel cause of rhabdomyolysis in a few families. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the prevalence of LPIN1mutations in patients exhibiting severe episodes of rhabdomyolysis in infancy. After exclusion of primary fatty acid oxidation disorders, LPIN1 coding sequence was determined in genomic DNA and cDNA. Among the 29 patients studied, 17 (59%) carried recessive nonsense or frameshift mutations, or a large scale intragenic deletion. In these 17 patients, episodes of rhabdomyolysis occurred at a mean age of 21 months. Secondary defect of mitochondrial fatty oxidation or respiratory chain was found in skeletal muscle of two patients. The intragenic deletion, c.2295-866_2410-30del, was identified in 8/17 patients (47%), all Caucasians, and occurred on the background of a common haplotype, suggesting a founder effect. This deleted human LPIN1 form was unable to complement Δpah1 yeast for growth on glycerol, in contrast to normal LPIN1. Since more than 50% of our series harboured LPIN1mutations, LPIN1 should be regarded as a major cause of severe myoglobinuria in early childhood. The high frequency of the intragenic LPIN1deletion should provide a valuable criterion for fast diagnosis, prior to muscle biopsy. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.