Macrophages: A minimally invasive tool for monitoring collagen VI myopathies

Francesca Gualandi, Rosa Curci, Patrizia Sabatelli, Elena Martoni, Matteo Bovolenta, Mario N. Maraldi, Luciano Merlini, And Alessandra Ferlini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Collagen VI expression was tested in peripheral blood macrophages from patients with collagen VI-related myopathies and compared with muscle biopsy. Methods: RNA and protein studies were performed in blood macrophages from 5 patients previously diagnosed with either Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy (UCMD) or Bethlem myopathy (BM). The full spectrum of possible genotypes was considered, including both dominant and recessive UCMD and BM cases. Results: In the dominant BM patient, no collagen VI alterations were detectable in macrophages or muscle biopsy. In the remaining patients, the protein defect caused by the selected mutations, as well as the transcriptional abnormalities, were readily detectable in macrophages, at levels comparable to those observed in muscle biopsy samples and cultured skin fibroblasts. Conclusions: Our data support the suitability of peripheral blood macrophages as a reliable, minimally invasive tool for supplementing or replacing muscle/skin biopsies in the diagnosis and monitoring of collagen VI-related myopathies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-84
Number of pages5
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011


  • Bethlem myopathy
  • Collagen VI
  • Monocyte-derived macrophages
  • Protein expression
  • RNA behavior
  • Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Physiology


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