Italian guidelines for molecular analysis in myotonic dystrophies

A. Botta, E. Bonifazi, L. Vallo, M. Gennarelli, C. Garrè, L. Salehi, R. Iraci, V. Sansone, G. Meola, Giuseppe Novelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Myotonic dystrophies, the most common form of adult muscular dystrophy, comprise at least two forms, clinically and genetically heterogeneous. Myotonic dystrophy type 1 and type 2 are both caused by unstable repetitions in untranslated gene regions: a [CTG]n expansion in the 3′ region of the DMPK gene on chromosome 19q13 (DM1) and [CCTG]n tetranucleotide repeat located in the first intron of the ZNF9 gene on chromosome 3q21 (DM2). DM clinical features are caused by a gain of functions RNA mechanism in which the CUG and CCUG repeats alter nuclear functions, including alternative splicing of shared genes. Southern blot and/or polymerase chain reaction PCR-based approaches allow the detection of DM mutations in almost 100% of cases, however, the expansion size and the elevated grade of somatic instability make molecular testing for DM a diagnostic challenge. The increased use of DNA testing for DM generates many questions regarding the indications and interpretations of the test which require standardized methods, routinely available in molecular genetic laboratories. Here, we propose Guidelines for the molecular diagnosis of DM1 and DM2 approved by the Italian Ministry of Health in 2005 (Piano Nazionale Linee Guida, PNLG). Best practice for DM molecular analysis in diagnostic application, presymptomatic and prenatal testing, using direct and indirect approaches are described, with particular attention focused on ethical, legal and social issues. Overviews of materials used in the molecular diagnosis, as well as internet resources, are also included.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-33
Number of pages11
JournalActa Myologica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006


  • Genetic test
  • Guidelines
  • Myotonic dystrophies (DM)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology

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  • Cite this

    Botta, A., Bonifazi, E., Vallo, L., Gennarelli, M., Garrè, C., Salehi, L., Iraci, R., Sansone, V., Meola, G., & Novelli, G. (2006). Italian guidelines for molecular analysis in myotonic dystrophies. Acta Myologica, 25(1), 23-33.