[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To better understand postural and movement disabilities, the pattern of total body muscle fat infiltration was analyzed in a large group of patients with facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy. Additionally, we studied whether residual D4Z4 repeat array length adjusted for age and gender could predict the degree of muscle involvement. Total body computed tomography scans of 70 patients were used to assess the degree of fat infiltration of 42 muscles from neck to ankle level on a semi-quantitative scale. Groups of muscles that highly correlated regarding fat infiltration were identified using factor analysis. Linear regression analysis was performed using muscle fat infiltration as the dependent variable and D4Z4 repeat length and age as independent variables. A pattern of muscle fat infiltration in facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy could be constructed. Trunk muscles were most frequently affected. Of these, back extensors were more frequently affected than previously reported. Asymmetry in muscle involvement was seen in 45% of the muscles that were infiltrated with fat. The right-sided upper extremity showed significantly higher scores for fat infiltration compared to the left side, which could not be explained by handedness. It was possible to explain 29% of the fat infiltration based on D4Z4 repeat length, corrected for age and gender. Based on our results we conclude that frequent involvement of fat infiltration in back extensors, in addition to the abdominal muscles, emphasizes the extent of trunk involvement, which may have a profound impact on postural control even in otherwise mildly affected patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy has been genetically linked to reduced numbers (≤8) of D4Z4 repeats at 4q35 combined with 4A(159/161/168) DUX4 polyadenylation signal haplotype. However, we have recently reported that 1.3% of healthy individuals carry this molecular signature and 19% of subjects affected by facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy do not carry alleles with eight or fewer D4Z4 repeats. Therefore, prognosis for subjects carrying or at risk of carrying D4Z4 reduced alleles has become more complicated. To test for additional prognostic factors, we measured the degree of motor impairment in a large group of patients affected by facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy and their relatives who are carrying D4Z4 reduced alleles. The clinical expression of motor impairment was assessed in 530 subjects, 163 probands and 367 relatives, from 176 unrelated families according to a standardized clinical score. The associations between clinical severity and size of D4Z4 allele, degree of kinship, gender, age and 4q haplotype were evaluated. Overall, 32.2% of relatives did not display any muscle functional impairment. This phenotype was influenced by the degree of relation with proband, because 47.1% of second- through fifth-degree relatives were unaffected, whereas only 27.5% of first-degree family members did not show motor impairment. The estimated risk of developing motor impairment by age 50 for relatives carrying a D4Z4 reduced allele with 1-3 repeats or 4-8 repeats was 88.7% and 55%, respectively. Male relatives had a mean score significantly higher than females (5.4 versus 4.0, P = 0.003). No 4q haplotype was exclusively associated with the presence of disease. In 13% of families in which D4Z4 alleles with 4-8 repeats segregate, the diagnosis of facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy was reported only in one generation. In conclusion, this large-scale analysis provides further information that should be taken into account when counselling families in which a reduced allele with 4-8 D4Z4 repeats segregates. In addition, the reduced expression of disease observed in distant relatives suggests that a family's genetic background plays a role in the occurrence of facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy. These results indicate that the identification of new susceptibility factors for this disease will require an accurate classification of families.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report the first case of a heterozygous T78M mutation in the caveolin-3 gene (CAV3) associated with rippling muscle disease and proximal myopathy. The patient displayed also bilateral winged scapula with limited abduction of upper arms and marked asymmetric atrophy of leg muscles shown by magnetic resonance imaging. Immunohistochemistry on the patient's muscle biopsy demonstrated a reduction of caveolin-3 staining, compatible with the diagnosis of caveolinopathy. Interestingly, consistent with the possible diagnosis of FSHD, the patient carried a 35 kb D4Z4 allele on chromosome 4q35. We discuss the hypothesis that the two genetic mutations may exert a synergistic effect in determining the phenotype observed in this patient.
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