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1.  Clinical features of facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy 2(CME) 
Neurology  2010;75(17):1548-1554.
Objective:
In some 5% of patients with facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), no D4Z4 repeat contraction on chromosome 4q35 is observed. Such patients, termed patients with FSHD2, show loss of DNA methylation and heterochromatin markers at the D4Z4 repeat that are similar to patients with D4Z4 contractions (FSHD1). This commonality suggests that a change in D4Z4 chromatin structure unifies FSHD1 and FSHD2. The aim of our study was to critically evaluate the clinical features in patients with FSHD2 in order to establish whether these patients are phenotypically identical to FSHD1 and to establish the effects of the (epi-) genotype on the phenotype.
Methods:
This cross-sectional study studied 33 patients with FSHD2 from 27 families, the largest cohort described to date. All patients were clinically assessed using a standardized clinical evaluation form. Genotype analysis was performed by pulsed field gel electrophoresis and PCR; D4Z4 methylation was studied by methylation-sensitive Southern blot analysis.
Results:
FSHD2 is identical to FSHD1 in its clinical presentation. Notable differences include a higher incidence (67%) of sporadic cases and the absence of gender differences in disease severity in FSHD2. Overall, average disease severity in FSHD2 was similar to that reported in FSHD1 and was not influenced by D4Z4 repeat size. In FSHD2, a small effect of the degree of hypomethylation on disease severity was observed.
Conclusions:
Clinically, patients with FSHD2 are indistinguishable from patients with FSHD1. The present data suggest that FSHD1 and FSHD2 are the result of the same pathophysiologic process.
GLOSSARY
= clinical severity score;
= facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy;
= peripheral blood lymphocyte;
= simple sequence length polymorphism.
doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181f96175
PMCID: PMC2974464  PMID: 20975055
2.  The non-dystrophic myotonias: molecular pathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment 
Brain  2009;133(1):9-22.
The non-dystrophic myotonias are an important group of skeletal muscle channelopathies electrophysiologically characterized by altered membrane excitability. Many distinct clinical phenotypes are now recognized and range in severity from severe neonatal myotonia with respiratory compromise through to milder late-onset myotonic muscle stiffness. Specific genetic mutations in the major skeletal muscle voltage gated chloride channel gene and in the voltage gated sodium channel gene are causative in most patients. Recent work has allowed more precise correlations between the genotype and the electrophysiological and clinical phenotype. The majority of patients with myotonia have either a primary or secondary loss of membrane chloride conductance predicted to result in reduction of the resting membrane potential. Causative mutations in the sodium channel gene result in an abnormal gain of sodium channel function that may show marked temperature dependence. Despite significant advances in the clinical, genetic and molecular pathophysiological understanding of these disorders, which we review here, there are important unresolved issues we address: (i) recent work suggests that specialized clinical neurophysiology can identify channel specific patterns and aid genetic diagnosis in many cases however, it is not yet clear if such techniques can be refined to predict the causative gene in all cases or even predict the precise genotype; (ii) although clinical experience indicates these patients can have significant progressive morbidity, the detailed natural history and determinants of morbidity have not been specifically studied in a prospective fashion; (iii) some patients develop myopathy, but its frequency, severity and possible response to treatment remains undetermined, furthermore, the pathophysiogical link between ion channel dysfunction and muscle degeneration is unknown; (iv) there is currently insufficient clinical trial evidence to recommend a standard treatment. Limited data suggest that sodium channel blocking agents have some efficacy. However, establishing the effectiveness of a therapy requires completion of multi-centre randomized controlled trials employing accurate outcome measures including reliable quantitation of myotonia. More specific pharmacological approaches are required and could include those which might preferentially reduce persistent muscle sodium currents or enhance the conductance of mutant chloride channels. Alternative strategies may be directed at preventing premature mutant channel degradation or correcting the mis-targeting of the mutant channels.
doi:10.1093/brain/awp294
PMCID: PMC2801326  PMID: 19917643
ion channels; neuromuscular; genetics; EMG

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