A new non-radioactive method for the screening and prenatal diagnosis of myotonic dystrophy patients

Raffaella Brugnoni, Lucia Morandi, Bruno Brambati, Vincenza Briscioli, Ferdinando Cornelio, Renato Mantegazza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Myotonic dystrophy (DM) is an autosomal dominant neuromuscular disease with an estimated incidence of 1 in 8000 and is the most common form of muscular dystrophy affecting adults. An unstable, untranslated part of the myotonic dystrophy protein kinase gene on the long arm of chromosome 19, composed of CTG repeats, is a genetic marker for DM. We have developed a fast non-radioactive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) procedure to detect the (CTG)(n) repeat expansion in DM patients and their relatives. Genomic DNA extracted from peripheral blood lymphocytes was amplified by PCR using specific primers to flank the region containing the triplets. To improve the amplification of this CG-rich region, either 10% glycerol or rTth DNA polymerase XL (extra long) was added to the reaction mixture, allowing amplification of huge expansions otherwise not polymerized by PCR. The PCR products were Southern blotted and the expansion revealed using a fluorescein-labelled (CTG)10 probe. We compared our results with those obtained in 24 patients and relatives using genomic digestion followed by radioactive Southern blot; in all cases the results overlapped. The same technique was used for prenatal diagnosis in pregnant DM mothers. We conclude that this new method is reliable for the genetic testing of DM patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-293
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Neurology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1998


  • CTG repeats
  • Myotonic dystrophy
  • Non-radioactive method

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'A new non-radioactive method for the screening and prenatal diagnosis of myotonic dystrophy patients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this