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  • Oculopharyngodistal myopathy--a possible association with cardiomyopathy.

    31 May 2018

    Oculopharyngodistal myopathy is an uncommon myopathy characterised clinically by cranial and distal limb muscle weakness. Here we describe two siblings with autosomal dominant oculopharyngodistal myopathy apparently associated with dilated cardiomyopathy, which in one case progressed to ventricular hypertrabeculation/non-compaction. Electrocardiographic screening was normal and the cardiomyopathy was detected only with echocardiography. Our findings suggest that patients with oculopharyngodistal myopathy should be screened for cardiomyopathy (with both electrocardiography and echocardiography).

  • Syncoilin accumulation in two patients with desmin-related myopathy.

    31 May 2018

    We have recently shown that syncoilin interacts with desmin in skeletal muscle and has a role in attaching and organising desmin filaments to the Z-lines. We have analysed patients with desmin accumulation and have found that syncoilin is both upregulated at the sarcolemma and aggregates with desmin indicating the presence of two distinct protein populations. Additional dystrophin-associated protein complex components also accumulate. The striking finding was that alpha-dystrobrevin-1 and neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) are almost completely lost from the membrane of these patients indicating that the myopathy may result from both the abnormal accumulation of proteins and an increase in ischaemic injury due to the loss of nNOS. We speculate that the loss of alpha-dystrobrevin from the membrane, and subsequent loss of nNOS, is due to the alpha-dystrobrevin-syncoilin-desmin interaction.

  • Three cases of androgen-dependent disease associated with myotonic dystrophy.

    8 December 2017

    Three cases of androgen-dependent disease in females with myotonic dystrophy are described. Serum androgens in individuals affected by myotonic dystrophy are known to be lower on average than in normal controls. Despite this these three females developed diseases that are androgen dependent, including acne, hidradenitis suppurativa, androgenetic alopecia and keratosis pilaris. These cases support the hypothesis that the peripheral response to androgens rather than absolute circulating levels of androgens is important in androgen-dependent conditions.

  • Recurrent congenital arthrogryposis leading to a diagnosis of myasthenia gravis in an initially asymptomatic mother.

    12 December 2017

    We report a sibship in which the syndrome of congenital arthrogryposis occurred in two male and two female neonates, three of whom died. The mother was asymptomatic at the time of the first pregnancy and the subsequent development of muscle weakness was later confirmed to be due to myasthenia gravis. The literature on this association is briefly reviewed and the extremely high risk of recurrence of this complication in subsequent pregnancies is addressed.

  • Comparison of the relative levels of the 3243 (A-->G) mtDNA mutation in heteroplasmic adult and fetal tissues.

    16 May 2018

    In this report, levels of the 3243 A to G mtDNA mutation associated with the mitochondrial encephalopathy, lactic acidosis, and stroke-like episodes (MELAS) syndrome were measured in different heteroplasmic tissues of subjects in a kindred including adults with variable clinical phenotypes and a fetus. The relative proportions of mutant mtDNA varied widely (0.03 to 0.67) between identical tissues of the six different subjects and between different tissues of the same subjects. In the one adult for whom sufficient data were available there was an apparent correlation between the distribution of mutant mtDNA and clinical presentation. A woman without neurological symptoms who died prematurely with a cardiomyopathy and lactic acidosis had higher proportions of mutant in heart (0.49, SD 0.02), skeletal muscle (0.56, SD 0.01), and liver (0.55, SD 0.12) than in other tissues studied (for example, kidney, 0.03, SD 0.01). A strikingly different result was found in a 24 week old fetus in whom there was little variation in heteroplasmy in different tissues (average proportion of mutant mtDNA in six tissues, 0.53, SD 0.02). These observations add cardiomyopathy to the growing list of presenting features of the 3243 mtDNA mutation. The unique results from the fetus suggest also that selection pressures acting on either wild type or 3243 mutant mtDNA (rather than variation from replicative segregation of the heteroplasmic mtDNA) may be responsible primarily for the variable levels of 3243 mutant mtDNA in different heteroplasmic tissues of adults.