Focal and other unusual presentations of facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy

Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, Minnesota 55905, USA.
Muscle & Nerve (Impact Factor: 2.28). 09/2012; 46(3):421-5. DOI: 10.1002/mus.23358
Source: PubMed


Facioscapulohumeral dystrophy (FSHD) presents classically with facial and shoulder-girdle weakness. We report focal atypical presentations of FSHD. Our aim was to identify focal/unusual phenotypes in genetically confirmed FSHD cases.
We undertook a retrospective review of an academic center database of the period from 1996 to 2011. Of 139 FSHD cases, 7 had atypical genetically confirmed disease. Clinical data were abstracted.
Seven cases (4 men) had a mean age of 37 years at onset (range 18-63 years) and mean 43 years at diagnosis (range 20-74 years). Presenting symptoms were monomelic lower limb (n = 3) or upper limb (n = 2) atrophy, or axial weakness (n = 2). Five patients had focal weakness on examination. CK was normal to borderline high. Two patients had a relative with FSHD. Coexistent unusual features included dyspnea (n = 1), S1 radicular pain with calf atrophy (n = 2), and peripheral neuropathy (n = 1). Almost all patients had myopathic EMG changes. DNA analysis showed a D4Z4 EcoRI fragment size ranging from 20 to 37 kilobases.
FSHD may present with focal weakness, dyspnea and myopathic EMG changes. These findings should raise the possibility of FSHD.

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Available from: Anhar Hassan, Jul 24, 2014
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    ABSTRACT: Diagnosis of facioscapulohumeral dystrophy type 1 (FSHD1) is supported by a suggestive clinical presentation and associated with a heterozygous contraction of the D4Z4 repeat array on chromosome 4q35. The FSHD1 phenotype has a widely variable course with great inter- and intrafamilial heterogeneity. Three clinical forms can be distinguished: the classical phenotype associated with four to seven repeat units (RU) and a variable course, a severe infantile form with one to three RU, and a mild phenotype associated with borderline UR (8 to 10 RU). At the molecular level, for D4Z4 contraction to be pathogenic, it needs to occur on a specific chromosomal background, namely on the 4qA allelic variant of chromosome 4. In most cases, once FSHD is clinically suspected, the diagnosis can be genetically confirmed with a DNA test using Southern Blotting and hybridization to a set of probes. However, diagnosis of FSHD1 remains challenging. Firstly, some patients may present with an atypical phenotype with highly focal or unusual symptoms. Secondly, there are potential pitfalls in the genetic diagnosis of FSHD resulting in false positive or false negative results. In the absence of genetic confirmation, other investigations, mainly EMG and muscle biopsy, are needed to rule out another diagnosis. In cases with no clear diagnosis and a permissive chromosome without contraction, FSHD2 may be suspected. Molecular combing is a new technique which permits visualization and sizing of the D4Z4 repeat array on its genetic background on stretched single DNA fibers by fluorescence microscopy. This tool will improve genetic diagnosis in FSHD patients. Diagnosis of FSHD1 is mainly supported by clinical features. Clinicians need to be aware of unusual presentations of this disease. The wide spectrum of intrafamilial variability and the lack of good correlation between genotype and phenotype present challenges for genetic counseling and prognostication. More studies are needed concerning penetrance and genotype-phenotype correlation.
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