A patient with an early severe myotonia diagnosed for Myotonic Dystrophy type 2 (DM2) was found bearing the combined effects of DM2 mutation and Nav1.4 S906T substitution. To investigate the mechanism underlying his atypical phenotype,whole-cell patch-clamp in voltage- and current-clamp mode was performed in myoblasts and myotubes obtained from his muscle biopsy. Results characterizing the properties of the sodium current and of the action potentials have been compared to those obtained in muscle cells derived from his mother, also affected by DM2, but without the S906T polymorphism. A faster inactivation kinetics and a +5 mV shift in the availability curve were found in the sodium current recorded in patient’s myoblasts compared to his mother. 27% of his myotubes displayed spontaneous activity. Patient’s myotubes showing a stable resting membrane potential had a lower rheobase current respect to the mother’s while the overshoot and the maximum slope of the depolarizing phase of action potential were higher. These findings suggest that SCN4A polymorphisms may be responsible for a higher excitability of DM2 patients sarcolemma, supporting the severe myotonic phenotype observed. We suggest SCN4A as a modifier factor and that its screening should be performed in DM2 patients with uncommon clinical features.
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