Nemaline myopathy: clinical, histochemical and immunohistochemical features.

Neurology Division, Internal Medicine Department, Hospital de Clínicas, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba, PR, Brasil.
Arquivos de neuro-psiquiatria (Impact Factor: 0.55). 09/2009; 67(3B):886-91. DOI: 10.1590/S0004-282X2009000500020
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Nemaline myopathy (NM) is a congenital disease that leads to hypotonia and feeding difficulties in neonates. Some cases have a more benign course, with skeletal abnormalities later in life. We analyzed a series of eight patients with NM obtained from a retrospective analysis of 4300 muscle biopsies. Patients were classified as having the typical form in five cases, intermediate form in two cases and severe form in one case. Histochemical analysis showed mixed rods distribution in all cases and predominance of type I fibers in five cases. Immunohistochemical analysis showed abnormal nebulin expression in all patients (four heterogeneous and four absent), homogeneous desmin expression in four cases, strongly positive in three and absent in one, fast myosin expression in a mosaic pattern in six cases and absent in two cases. There was no specific relation between these protein expression patterns and the clinical forms of NM.

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    ABSTRACT: The term nemaline myopathy (NM) encompasses a heterogeneous group of disorders of primary skeletal muscle weakness characterized by the presence of nemaline rods in muscles of affected individuals. Disease severity is variable and unpredictable, with prognosis ranging from neonatal death to almost normal motor function. Recent advances in the identification of NM disease genes demonstrate that NM is a disease of the skeletal muscle sarcomere and, in particular, of the thin filaments. These findings are starting to alter the approach that neurologists and geneticists take to diagnosing and counseling patients with NM, and could lead to insights into specific directed therapies in the future.
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    ABSTRACT: Nemaline myopathy is a structural congenital myopathy which may show both autosomal dominant and autosomal recessive inheritance patterns. Mutations in three different genes have been identified as the cause of nemaline myopathy: the gene for slow alpha-tropomyosin 3 (TPM3) at 1q22-23, the nebulin gene (NEB) at 2q21.1-q22, and the actin gene (ACTA1) at 1q42. The typical autosomal recessive form appears to be the most common one and is caused by mutations in the nebulin gene. We have studied the pattern of nebulin labeling, in patients with the typical congenital form (ten patients), the severe congenital form (two patients) or the mild, childhood-onset form (one patient), using antibodies against three different domains of nebulin. A qualitative and quantitative nebulin analysis in muscle tissue showed the presence of nebulin in myofibers from all patients. Some differences relating to the rod structure were observed. The majority of the largest subsarcolemmal rods were not labeled with the N2 nebulin antibody (I-band epitope) and showed an indistinct pattern with the two antibodies directed to the Z-band portion of nebulin (epitopes M176-181 and serine-rich domain). Diffuse rods were not revealed using the three antibodies. A discordant pattern of nebulin N2 epitope labeling was found in two affected sisters with a mutation in the nebulin gene, suggesting that modifications in nebulin distribution inside the rods might occur with the progression of the disease. Western blot analysis showed no direct correlation with immunofluorescence data. In nine patients, the band had a molecular weight comparable to the normal control, while in one patient, it was detected with a higher molecular weight. Our results suggest that presence/absence of specific nebulin Z-band epitopes in rod structures is variable and could depend on the degree of rod organization.
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    ABSTRACT: Nemaline myopathy is a structural congenital myopathy associated with the presence of rodlike structures inside the muscle fibers and type I predominance. It may be caused by mutations in at least five genes: slow alpha-tropomyosin 3 (chromosome 1q22-23), nebulin (chromosome 2q21.1-q22), actin (chromosome 1q42), tropomyosin 2 (chromosome 9p13), and troponin T1 (chromosome 19q13.4). The effect of these mutations in the expression of the protein and the mechanism of rod formation is still under investigation. We analyzed the possibility of progressive alterations with time and/or disease evolution, such as transformation of type I to type II fiber and rod pattern and distribution in muscle fibers from patients with nemaline myopathy, through a morphometric and immunohistochemical analysis of different muscle protein isoforms. A tendency of diffuse rods to be organized in the subsarcolemmal region was observed in two patients who were submitted to subsequent biopsies after 10 and 13 years. Additionally, we observed the expression of type II protein isoforms in type I fibers and a higher proportion of type II fibers in the younger patient of a pair of affected sibs, giving further support to the hypothesis of progressive conversion of type II to type I fibers in nemaline myopathy.
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