Clinical aspects, molecular pathomechanisms and management of myotonic dystrophies

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Abstract

Myotonic dystrophy (DM) is the most common adult muscular dystrophy, characterized by autosomal dominant progressive myopathy, myotonia and multiorgan involvement. To date two distinct forms caused by similar mutations have been identified. Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1, Steinert's disease) was described more than 100 years ago and is caused by a (CTG)n expansion in DMPK, while myotonic dystrophy type 2 (DM2) was identified only 18 years ago and is caused by a (CCTG)n expansion in ZNF9/CNBP. When transcribed into CUG/CCUG-containing RNA, mutant transcripts aggregate as nuclear foci that sequester RNA-binding proteins, resulting in spliceopathy of downstream effector genes. Despite clinical and genetic similarities, DM1 and DM2 are distinct disorders requiring different diagnostic and management strategies. DM1 may present in four different forms: congenital, early childhood, adult onset and late-onset oligosymptomatic DM1. Congenital DM1 is the most severe form of DM characterized by extreme muscle weakness and mental retardation. In DM2 the clinical phenotype is extremely variable and there are no distinct clinical subgroups. Congenital and childhood-onset forms are not present in DM2 and, in contrast to DM1, myotonia may be absent even on EMG. Due to the lack of awareness of the disease among clinicians, DM2 remains largely underdiagnosed. The delay in receiving the correct diagnosis after onset of first symptoms is very long in DM: on average more than 5 years for DM1 and more than 14 years for DM2 patients. The long delay in the diagnosis of DM causes unnecessary problems for the patients to manage their lives and anguish with uncertainty of prognosis and treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-165
Number of pages12
JournalActa Myologica
Volume32
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Keywords

  • Management
  • Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (Dm1)
  • Myotonic dystrophy type 2 (Dm2)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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