Myotonic dystrophy types 1 and 2 (DM1 and DM2) are forms of muscular dystrophy that share similar clinical and molecular manifestations, such as myotonia, muscle weakness, cardiac anomalies, cataracts, and the presence of defined RNA-containing foci in muscle nuclei. DM2 is caused by an expansion of the tetranucleotide CCTG repeat within the first intron of ZNF9, although the mechanism by which the expanded nucleotide repeat causes the debilitating symptoms of DM2 is unclear. Conflicting studies have led to two models for the mechanisms leading to the problems associated with DM2. First, a gain-of-function disease model hypothesizes that the repeat expansions in the transcribed RNA do not directly affect ZNF9 function. Instead repeat-containing RNAs are thought to sequester proteins in the nucleus, causing misregulation of normal cellular processes. In the alternative model, the repeat expansions impair ZNF9 function and lead to a decrease in the level of translation. Here we examine the normal in vivo function of ZNF9. We report that ZNF9 associates with actively translating ribosomes and functions as an activator of cap-independent translation of the human ODC mRNA. This activity is mediated by direct binding of ZNF9 to the internal ribosome entry site sequence (IRES) within the 5′UTR of ODC mRNA. ZNF9 can activate IRES-mediated translation of ODC within primary human myoblasts, and this activity is reduced in myoblasts derived from a DM2 patient. These data identify ZNF9 as a regulator of cap-independent translation and indicate that ZNF9 activity may contribute mechanistically to the myotonic dystrophy type 2 phenotype.
Myotonic dystrophy (Dystrophia Myotonica, DM) is the most frequently inherited neuromuscular disease of adult life. It is a multisystemic disease with major cardiac involvement. Core features of myotonic dystrophy are myotonia, muscle weakness, cataract, respiratory failure and cardiac conduction abnormalities. Classical DM, first described by Steinert and called Steinert's disease or DM1 (Dystrophia Myotonica type 1) has been identified as an autosomal dominant disorder associated with the presence of an abnormal expansion of a CTG trinucleotide repeat in the 3' untranslated region of DMPK gene on chromosome 19. This review will mainly focus on the various aspects of cardiac involvement in DM1 patients and the current role of cardiac pacing in their treatment.
myotonic dystrophy type 1; arrhythmias; cardiac pacing
Myotonic dystrophy is an autosomal dominant, multisystem disorder that is characterized by myotonic myopathy. The symptoms and severity of myotonic dystrophy type l (DM1) ranges from severe and congenital forms, which frequently result in death because of respiratory deficiency, through to late-onset baldness and cataract. In adult patients, cardiac conduction abnormalities may occur and cause a shorter life span. In subsequent generations, the symptoms in DM1 may present at an earlier age and have a more severe course (anticipation). In myotonic dystrophy type 2 (DM2), no anticipation is described, but cardiac conduction abnormalities as in DM1 are observed and patients with DM2 additionally have muscle pain and stiffness. Both DM1 and DM2 are caused by unstable DNA repeats in untranslated regions of different genes: A (CTG)n repeat in the 3'-UTR of the DMPK gene and a (CCTG)n repeat in intron 1 of the CNBP (formerly ZNF9) gene, respectively. The length of the (CTG)n repeat expansion in DM1 correlates with disease severity and age of onset. Nevertheless, these repeat sizes have limited predictive values on individual bases. Because of the disease characteristics in DM1 and DM2, appropriate molecular testing and reporting is very important for the optimal counseling in myotonic dystrophy. Here, we describe best practice guidelines for clinical molecular genetic analysis and reporting in DM1 and DM2, including presymptomatic and prenatal testing.
Objective: To specify and quantify possible defects in speech execution in patients with adult onset myotonic dystrophy.
Methods: Studies on speech production were done on 30 mildly affected patients with myotonic dystrophy. Special attention was paid to myotonia. Because muscle activity can result in a decrease of myotonia, speech characteristics were measured before and after warm up. The possibility that warming up causes increased weakness was also assessed.
Results: As with other motor skills, a warm up effect was found in speech production, resulting in an increase in repetition rate and a decrease in variability of repetition rate. Signs of fatigue did not occur.
Conclusions: Warming up is valuable for patients with myotonic dystrophy in reducing the influence of myotonia on speech production.
Myotonic dystrophy (DM1), the most common muscular dystrophy in adults, is caused by an expanded (CTG)n tract in the 3′ UTR of the gene encoding myotonic dystrophy protein kinase (DMPK)1, which results in nuclear entrapment of the ‘toxic’ mutant RNA and interacting RNA-binding proteins (such as MBNL1) in ribonuclear inclusions2. It is unclear if therapy aimed at eliminating the toxin would be beneficial. To address this, we generated transgenic mice expressing the DMPK 3′ UTR as part of an inducible RNA transcript encoding green fluorescent protein (GFP). We were surprised to find that mice overexpressing a normal DMPK 3′ UTR mRNA reproduced cardinal features of myotonic dystrophy, including myotonia, cardiac conduction abnormalities, histopathology and RNA splicing defects in the absence of detectable nuclear inclusions. However, we observed increased levels of CUG-binding protein (CUG-BP1) in skeletal muscle, as seen in individuals with DM1. Notably, these effects were reversible in both mature skeletal and cardiac muscles by silencing transgene expression. These results represent the first in vivo proof of principle for a therapeutic strategy for treatment of myotonic dystrophy by ablating or silencing expression of the toxic RNA molecules.
Tumorigenesis is a multi-step process due to an accumulation of genetic mutations in multiple genes in diverse pathways which ultimately lead to loss of control over cell growth. It is well known that inheritance of rare germline mutations in genes involved in tumorigenesis pathways confer high lifetime risk of neoplasia in affected individuals. Furthermore, a substantial number of multiple malformation syndromes include cancer susceptibility in their phenotype. Studies of the mechanisms underlying these inherited syndromes have added to the understanding of both normal development and the pathophysiology of carcinogenesis. Myotonic dystrophy (DM) represents a group of autosomal dominant, multisystemic diseases that share the clinical features of myotonia, muscle weakness, and early-onset cataracts. Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) and myotonic dystrophy type 2 (DM2) result from unstable nucleotide repeat expansions in their respective genes. There have been multiple reports of tumors in individuals with DM, most commonly benign calcifying cutaneous tumors known as pilomatricomas. We provide a summary of the tumors reported in DM and a hypothesis for a possible mechanism of tumorigenesis. We hope to stimulate further study into the potential role of DM genes in tumorigenesis, and help define DM pathogenesis, and facilitate developing novel treatment modalities.
Tumorigenesis; Myotonic dystrophy; Repeat expansion disorders; Pilomatricoma; β-Catenin
Myotonic dystrophy is the most common autosomal dominant myopathy in adults. Our patient, a 41 year-old female suffering from myotonic muscular dystrophy, developed upper thoracic myelopathy due to hypertrophy of the ligamentum flavum and the posterior longitudinal ligament. She had a typical hatchet face and ptosis with "head hanging forward" appearance caused by neck weakness. Motor weakness, sensory changes and severe pain below T4 level, along with urinary incontinence began 3 months ago. Genetic and electrodiagnostic studies revealed myotonic dystrophy type 1. Magnetic resonance imaging of the spine showed loss of cervical lordosis and spinal cord compression due to hypertrophied ligamentum flavum and posterior longitudinal ligament at T1 to T3 level. We concluded that her upper thoracic myelopathy was likely related to the thickness of the ligamentum flavum and posterior longitudinal ligament due to repetitive mechanical stress on her neck caused by neck muscle weakness with myotonic dystrophy.
Myotonic dystrophy; Neck weakness; Thoracic myelopathy
In myotonic muscular dystrophy, abnormal muscle Na currents underlie myotonic discharges. Since the myotonic muscular dystrophy gene encodes a product, human myotonin protein kinase, with structural similarity to protein kinases, we tested the idea that human myotonin protein kinase modulates skeletal muscle Na channels. Coexpression of human myotonin protein kinase with rat skeletal muscle Na channels in Xenopus oocytes reduced the amplitude of Na currents and accelerated current decay. The effect required the presence of a potential phosphorylation site in the inactivation mechanism of the channel. The mutation responsible for human disease, trinucleotide repeats in the 3' untranslated region, did not prevent the effect. The consequence of an abnormal amount of the kinase would be altered muscle cell excitability, consistent with the clinical finding of myotonia in myotonic dystrophy.
dysphagia is a common feature of patients with myotonic dystrophy and
is not usually perceived due to their emotional deficits and lack of
interest. The aim was to show the existence and frequency of
subclinical electrophysiological abnormalities in oropharyngeal
swallowing and to clarify the mechanisms of dysphagia in
patients with myotonic dystrophy were examined for oropharyngeal phase
of swallowing by clinical and electrophysiological methods. Ten
patients had dysphagia whereas 11 patients had signs and symptoms
reflecting CNS involvement. Four patients with myotonia congenita and
30 healthy volunteers served as controls. Laryngeal movements were
detected by means of a piezoelectric sensor. EMG activities of the
submental muscle (SM-EMG) and needle EMG of the cricopharyngeal muscle
of the upper eosophageal sphincter (CP-EMG) were also recorded during swallowing.
RESULTS—In about 70%
of the patients with myotonic
dystrophy, the existence of oropharyngeal
dysphagia was indicated objectively by means of the technique of
"dysphagia limit" and by clinical evaluation. Duration of the
swallowing reflex as defined by the laryngeal relocation time (0-2
time interval) and submental muscle excitation as a part of the
swallowing reflex (A-C interval) were significantly prolonged in
patients with myotonic dystrophy, especially
in dysphagic patients. Triggering time of the swallowing reflex (A-0
interval) also showed significant prolongation, especially in the
patients having both dysphagia and CNS involvement. During swallowing, CP muscle activity was abnormal in 40% of the patients with
myopathic weakness and myotonia encountered in oropharyngeal muscles
play an important part in the oral and the pharyngeal phases of
swallowing dysfunction in myotonic dystrophy. It was also suggested
that CNS involvement might contribute to the delay of the triggering of
the swallowing reflex and some abnormal EMG findings in the CP
sphincter, resulting in oropharyngeal dysphagia in
Myotonic Dystrophy type 1 (DM1) is a multi-system disorder characterized by muscle wasting, myotonia, cardiac conduction defects, cataracts, and neuropsychological dysfunction. DM1 is caused by expansion of a CTG repeat in the 3´untranslated region (UTR) of the Dystrophia Myotonica Protein Kinase (DMPK) gene. A body of work demonstrates that DMPK mRNAs containing abnormally expanded CUG repeats are toxic to several cell types. A core mechanism underlying symptoms of DM1 is that mutant DMPK RNA interferes with the developmentally regulated alternative splicing of defined pre-mRNAs. Expanded CUG repeats fold into ds(CUG) hairpins that sequester nuclear proteins including human Muscleblind-like (MBNL) and hnRNP H alternative splicing factors. DM1 cells activate CELF family member CUG-BP1 protein through hyperphosphorylation and stabilization in the cell nucleus. CUG-BP1 and MBNL1 proteins act antagonistically in exon selection in several pre-mRNA transcripts, thus MBNL1 sequestration and increase in nuclear activity of CUG-BP1 both act synergistically to missplice defined transcripts. Mutant DMPK-mediated effect on subcellular localization, and defective phosphorylation of cytoplasmic CUG-BP1, have additionally been linked to defective translation of p21 and MEF2A in DM1, possibly explaining delayed differentiation of DM1 muscle cells. Mutant DMPK transcripts bind and sequester transcription factors such as Specificity protein 1 leading to reduced transcription of selected genes. Recently, transcripts containing long hairpin structures of CUG repeats have been shown to be a Dicer ribonuclease target and Dicer-induced downregulation of the mutant DMPK transcripts triggers silencing effects on RNAs containing long complementary repeats. In summary, mutant DMPK transcripts alter gene transcription, alternative splicing, and translation of specific gene transcripts, and have the ability to trigger gene-specific silencing effects in DM1 cells. Therapies aimed at reversing these gene expression alterations should prove effective ways to treat DM1.
OBJECTIVES—Myotonic dystrophy is a disease
characterised by myotonia and muscle weakness. Psychiatric disorder and
sleep problems have also been considered important features of the
illness. This study investigated the extent to which apathy, major
depression, and hypersomnolence were present. The objective was to
clarify if the apathy reported anecdotally was a feature of CNS
involvement or if this was attributable to major depression,
hypersomnolence, or a consequence of chronic muscle weakness.
METHODS—These features were studied in 36 adults
with non-congenital myotonic dystrophy and 13 patients with
Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. By using patients with Charcot-Marie-Tooth
disease as a comparison group the aim was to control for the disabling
effects of having an inherited chronic neurological disease causing
muscle weakness. Standardised assessment instruments were used wherever
possible to facilitate comparison with other groups reported in the
RESULTS—There was no excess of major depression on
cross sectional analysis in these patients with mild myotonic
dystrophy. However, apathy was a prominent feature of myotonic
dystrophy in comparison with a similarly disabled group of patients
with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (clinician rated score;
Mann Whitney U test, p=0.0005). Rates of hypersomnolence
were greater in the myotonic dystrophy group, occurring in 39% of
myotonic dystrophy patients, but there was no correlation with apathy.
CONCLUSION—These data suggest that apathy
and hypersomnia are independent and common features of myotonic
dystrophy. Apathy cannot be accounted for by clinical depression or
peripheral muscle weakness and is therefore likely to reflect CNS
involvement. These features of the disease impair quality of life and
may be treatable.
Myotonic dystrophy (DM) is the most common form of adult onset muscular dystrophy, with an incidence of approximately 1 in 8500 adults. DM is caused by an expanded number of trinucleotide repeats in the 3'-untranslated region (UTR) of a cAMP-dependent protein kinase (DM protein kinase, DMPK). Although a large number of transgenic animals have been generated with different gene constructions and knock-outs, none of them faithfully recapitulates the multisystemic and often severe phenotype seen in human patients. The transgenic data suggest that myotonic dystrophy is not caused simply by a biochemical deficiency or abnormality in the DM kinase gene product. Emerging studies suggest that two novel pathogenetic mechanisms may play a role in the disease: the expanded repeats appear to cause haploinsufficiency of a neighboring homeobox gene and also abnormal DMPK RNA appears to have a detrimental effect on RNA homeostasis. The complex, multisystemic phenotype may reflect an underlying multifaceted molecular pathophysiology: the facial dysmorphology may be due to pattern defects caused by haploinsufficiency of the homeobox gene, while the muscle disease and endocrine abnormalities may be due to both altered RNA metabolism and deficiency of the cAMP DMPK protein.
Abnormal calcium transport may be implicated in the membrane defect in myotonic dystrophy. A single blind crossover trial of placebo (t.i.d.), nifedipine 10 mg (t.i.d.) and nifedipine 20 mg (t.i.d.), was performed in 10 patients with myotonic dystrophy. The severity of myotonia was assessed by measuring finger extension time after maximum voluntary finger flexion. A significant improvement in myotonia, after nifedipine, was recorded by this technique and supported by a subjective improvement in 50% of patients and clinical improvement of greater than 20% in five patients. Initial grip strength and muscle fatiguability measured by grip strength ergometry were not significantly altered.
Muscle degeneration and myotonia are clinical hallmarks of myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1), a multisystemic disorder caused by a CTG repeat expansion in the 3′ untranslated region of the myotonic dystrophy protein kinase (DMPK) gene. Transgenic mice engineered to express mRNA with expanded (CUG)250 repeats (HSALR mice) exhibit prominent myotonia and altered splicing of muscle chloride channel gene (Clcn1) transcripts. We used whole-cell patch clamp recordings and nonstationary noise analysis to compare and biophysically characterize the magnitude, kinetics, voltage dependence, and single channel properties of the skeletal muscle chloride channel (ClC-1) in individual flexor digitorum brevis (FDB) muscle fibers isolated from 1–3-wk-old wild-type and HSALR mice. The results indicate that peak ClC-1 current density at −140 mV is reduced >70% (−48.5 ± 3.6 and −14.0 ± 1.6 pA/pF, respectively) and the kinetics of channel deactivation increased in FDB fibers obtained from 18–20- d-old HSALR mice. Nonstationary noise analysis revealed that the reduction in ClC-1 current density in HSALR FDB fibers results from a large reduction in ClC-1 channel density (170 ± 21 and 58 ± 11 channels/pF in control and HSALR fibers, respectively) and a modest decrease in maximal channel open probability(0.91 ± 0.01 and 0.75 ± 0.03, respectively). Qualitatively similar results were observed for ClC-1 channel activity in knockout mice for muscleblind-like 1 (Mbnl1ΔE3/ΔE3), a second murine model of DM1 that exhibits prominent myotonia and altered Clcn1 splicing (Kanadia et al., 2003). These results support a molecular mechanism for myotonia in DM1 in which a reduction in both the number of functional sarcolemmal ClC-1 and maximal channel open probability, as well as an acceleration in the kinetics of channel deactivation, results from CUG repeat–containing mRNA molecules sequestering Mbnl1 proteins required for proper CLCN1 pre-mRNA splicing and chloride channel function.
Twenty-five symptoms, signs, and abnormal investigations were looked for in 20 patients with clinically-definite myotonic dystrophy. Weakness of facial muscles, neck flexors, and arm external rotators was found in all patients (sensitivity = 100%). Arm external rotation has not been reported as a frequently involved muscle in previous clinical studies on myotonic dystrophy. Careful examination of muscle strength may therefore predict which patients may or may not carry the abnormal gene for myotonic dystrophy.
In a study of 35 index patients who developed myotonic dystrophy between birth and 30 years (neonatal cases aware excluded), 30 could be categorised into two clinical types. The 13 type 1 patients had a more severe limb weakness, of patchy distribution, associated with proportional facial weakness. The 17 type 2 patients had a milder and more diffuse limb weakness; their facial weakness, however, was very pronounced and preceded the limb weakness by several years. All but one of the 25 affected relatives who were examined belonged to the same category as their index relative, providing evidence that the cause of the clinical heterogeneity was genetic. Subsequent observations showed that mental retardation, male infertility, and neonatally affected offspring were commoner in type 2 patients. Congenital myotonic dystrophy could occur among the offspring of either affected males or affected females, but neonatal symptoms were confined to the offspring of affected women. The overall risk for having neonatally affected offspring for this prospective study of young adult patients was 7 in 38, and for the offspring of affected females 7 in 27. The risk for having a surviving child whose mental or physical handicap or both required special schooling was 1 in 12 for males and 4 in 27 for females.
Because of its high prevalence, fibromyalgia (FM) is a major general health issue. Myotonic dystrophy type 2 (DM2) is a recently described autosomal-dominant multisystem disorder. Besides variable proximal muscle weakness, myotonia, and precocious cataracts, muscle pain and stiffness are prominent presenting features of DM2. After noting that several of our mutation-positive DM2 patients had a previous diagnosis of FM, suggesting that DM2 may be misdiagnosed as FM, we invited 90 randomly selected patients diagnosed as having FM to undergo genetic testing for DM2. Of the 63 patients who agreed to participate, 2 (3.2%) tested positive for the DM2 mutation. Their cases are described herein. DM2 was not found in any of 200 asymptomatic controls. We therefore suggest that the presence of DM2 should be investigated in a large sample of subjects diagnosed as having FM, and clinicians should be aware of overlap in the clinical presentation of these 2 distinct disorders.
Myotonic dystrophy type 2 (DM2) is an autosomal dominantly inherited multisystemic disorder and a common cause of muscular dystrophy in adults. Although neuromuscular symptoms predominate, there is clinical and imaging evidence of cerebral involvement. We used voxel-based morphometry (VBM) based on T1-weighted magnetic resonance images to investigate brain morphology in 13 DM2 patients in comparison to 13 sex- and age-matched controls. Further, we employed novel computational surface-based methods that specifically assess callosal thickness. We found grey and white matter loss along cerebral midline structures in our patient group. Grey matter reductions were present in brainstem and adjacent hypothalamic and thalamic regions, while white matter was mainly reduced in corpus callosum. The reduced callosal size was highly significant and independently confirmed by different methods. Our data provide first evidence for grey and white matter loss along brain midline structures in DM2 patients. The reduced size of the corpus callosum further extends the spectrum of white matter changes in DM2 and may represent the morphological substrate of neuropsychological abnormalities previously described in this disorder.
DM2; brainstem; corpus callosum; VBM; morphometry
To estimate cancer risks for patients with myotonic dystrophy, given that increased risks for neoplasms in association with myotonic dystrophy type 1 and type 2 have been suggested in several studies but the risks of cancers have not been quantified.
Patients and Methods
A cohort of 307 patients with myotonic dystrophy identified from medical records of Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, from January 1, l993, through May 28, 2010, was retrospectively analyzed. We estimated standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) of specific cancers for patients with myotonic dystrophy compared with age- and sex-specific cancer incidences of the general population. Age-dependent cumulative risks were calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method.
A total of 53 cancers were observed at a median age at diagnosis of 55 years. Patients with myotonic dystrophy had an increased risk of thyroid cancer (SIR, 5.54; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.80-12.93; P=.001) and choroidal melanoma (SIR, 27.54; 95% CI, 3.34-99.49; P<.001). They may also have an increased risk of testicular cancer (SIR, 5.09; 95% CI, 0.62-18.38; P=.06) and prostate cancer (SIR, 2.21; 95% CI, 0.95-4.35; P=.05). The estimated cumulative risks at age 50 years were 1.72% (95% CI, 0.64%-4.55%) for thyroid cancer and 1.00% (95% CI, 0.25%-3.92%) for choroidal melanoma. There was no statistical evidence of an increased risk of brain, breast, colorectal, lung, renal, bladder, endometrial, or ovarian cancer; lymphoma; leukemia; or multiple myeloma.
Patients with myotonic dystrophy may have an increased risk of thyroid cancer and choroidal melanoma and, possibly, testicular and prostate cancers.
Myotonic dystrophy is a genetic muscular disease that is frequently associated with cardiac arrhythmias. Bradyarrhythmias, such as sinus bradycardia and atrioventricular block, are more common than tachyarrhythmias. Rarely, previously undiagnosed patients with myotonic dystrophy initially present with a tachyarrhythmia. We describe the case of a 14-year-old boy, who was admitted to the hospital with clinical signs and symptoms of decompensated heart failure and severely reduced left ventricular function. Electrocardiography showed common-type atrial flutter with 2 : 1 conduction resulting in a heart rate of 160 bpm. Initiation of medical therapy for heart failure as well as electrical cardioversion led to a marked clinical improvement. Catheter ablation of atrial flutter was performed to prevent future cardiac decompensations and to prevent development of tachymyopathy. Left ventricular function normalized during followup. Genetic analysis confirmed the clinical suspicion of myotonic dystrophy as known in other family members in this case.
Proximal myotonic myopathy (PROMM) is a recently described autosomal dominantly inherited disorder resulting in proximal muscle weakness, myotonia, and cataracts. A few patients with cardiac involvement (sinus bradycardia, supraventricular bigeminy, conduction abnormalities) have been reported. The cases of three relatives with PROMM (weakness of neck flexors and proximal extremity muscles, calf hypertrophy, myotonia, cataracts) are reported: a 54 year old man, his 73 year old mother, and 66 year old aunt. All three presented with conduction abnormalities and one had repeated, life threatening, sustained monomorphic ventricular tachycardia. This illustrates that severe cardiac involvement may occur in PROMM.
Keywords: proximal myotonic myopathy; cardiomyopathy; ventricular tachycardia; genetic disorders
Myotonic dystrophy is a dominantly inherited clinically variable multisystemic disorder, and has been found to be caused by heterozygosity for a trinucleotide repeat expansion mutation in the 3' untranslated region of a protein kinase gene (DM kinase). The mechanisms by which the expanded repeat in DNA results in a dominant biochemical defect and the varied clinical phenotype, is not known. We have recently proposed a model where disease pathogenesis may occur at the RNA level in myotonic dystrophy: the mutant DM kinase RNA with the expansion mutation may disrupt cellular RNA metabolism in some general manner, as evidenced by defects in RNA processing of the normal DM kinase gene in heterozygous patients (dominant negative RNA mutation). Here we further test this hypothesis by measuring RNA metabolism of other genes in patient muscle biopsies (nine adult onset myotonic dystrophy patients, two congenital muscular dystrophy patients, four normal controls, and four myopathic controls). We focused on the insulin receptor gene because of the documented insulin resistance of DM patients. We show that there is a significant decrease in insulin receptor RNA in both total RNA and RNA polyA+ pools relative to normal and myopathic control muscles (P < 0.002), measured relative to both dystrophin RNA and muscle sodium channel RNA. We also show reductions in insulin receptor protein. Our results reinforce the concept of a generalized RNA metabolism defect in myotonic dystrophy, and offer a possible molecular mechanism for the increased insulin resistance observed in many myotonic dystrophy patients.
The neuromuscular disease myotonic dystrophy type I (DM1) affects multiple organ systems with the major symptoms being severe muscle weakness, progressive muscle wasting and myotonia. The causative mutation in DM1 is a CTG repeat expansion in the 3′-untranslated region of the DM protein kinase (DMPK) gene. RNA transcribed from the expanded allele contains the expanded CUG repeats and leads to the nuclear depletion of Muscleblind-like 1 (MBNL1) and to the increased steady-state levels of CUG-binding protein 1 (CUGBP1). The pathogenic effects of MBNL1 depletion have previously been tested by the generation of MBNL1 knockout mice, but the consequence of CUGBP1 overexpression in adult muscle is not known. In a DM1 mouse model expressing RNA containing 960 CUG repeats in skeletal muscle, CUGBP1 up-regulation is temporally correlated with severe muscle wasting. In this study, we generated transgenic mice with doxycycline-inducible and skeletal muscle-specific expression of CUGBP1. Adult mouse skeletal muscle overexpressing CUGBP1 reproduces molecular and physiological defects of DM1 tissue. The results from this study strongly suggest that CUGBP1 has a major role in DM1 skeletal muscle pathogenesis.
Myotonic dystrophy type 2 (DM2) is a progressive multisystem disease with muscle weakness and myotonia as main characteristics. The disease is caused by a repeat expansion in the zinc-finger protein 9 (ZNF9) gene on chromosome 3q21. Several reports show that patients from European ancestry share an identical haplotype surrounding the ZNF9 gene. In this study, we investigated whether the Dutch DM2 population carries the same founder haplotype. In all, 40 Dutch DM2 patients from 16 families were genotyped for eight short tandem repeat markers surrounding the ZNF9 gene. In addition, the single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs1871922 located in the first intron of DM2 was genotyped. Results were compared with previously published haplotypes from unrelated Caucasian patients. The repeat lengths identified in this study were in agreement with existing literature. In 36 patients of our population, we identified three common haplotypes. One patient showed overlap with the common haplotype for only one marker closest to the ZNF9 gene. The haplotype from a family originating from Morocco showed overlap with that of the patients of European descent for a region of 222 kb. All patients carried at least one C allele of SNP rs1871922 indicating that all patients carry the European founder haplotype. We conclude that DM2 patients from the Netherlands, including a North-African family, harbor a common haplotype surrounding the ZNF9 gene. This data show that the Dutch patients carry the common founder haplotype and strongly suggest that DM2 mutations in Europe and North Africa originate from a single ancestral founder.
myotonic dystrophy type 2; haplotype; ZNF9
Myotonic dystrophy (DM) is the most common adult-onset muscular dystrophy with an estimated prevalence of 1/8000. There are two genetically distinct types, DM1 and DM2. DM2 is generally milder with more phenotypic variability than the classic DM1. Our previous data on co-segregation of heterozygous recessive CLCN1 mutations in DM2 patients indicated a higher than expected DM2 prevalence. The aim of this study was to determine the DM2 and DM1 frequency in the general population, and to explore whether the DM2 mutation functions as a modifier in other neuromuscular diseases (NMD) to account for unexplained phenotypic variability. We genotyped 5535 Finnish individuals: 4532 normal blood donors, 606 patients with various non-myotonic NMD, 221 tibial muscular dystrophy patients and their 176 healthy relatives for the DM2 and DM1 mutations. We also genotyped an Italian idiopathic non-myotonic proximal myopathy cohort (n=93) for the DM2 mutation. In 5496 samples analyzed for DM2, we found three DM2 mutations and two premutations. In 5511 samples analyzed for DM1, we found two DM1 mutations and two premutations. In the Italian cohort, we identified one patient with a DM2 mutation. We conclude that the DM2 mutation frequency is significantly higher in the general population (1/1830; P-value=0.0326) than previously estimated. The identification of DM2 mutations in NMD patients with clinical phenotypes not previously associated with DM2 is of particular interest and is in accord with the high overall prevalence. On the basis of our results, DM2 appears more frequent than DM1, with most DM2 patients currently undiagnosed with symptoms frequently occurring in the elderly population.
myotonic dystrophy; mutation frequency; prevalence; population