Vol 47, No 3 (2013)

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Muscle pathology in 31 patients with calpain 3 gene mutations

Aleksandra A. Nadaj-Pakleza12, Małgorzata Dorobek31, Klaudia Nestorowicz3, Barbara Ryniewicz1, Elżbieta Szmidt-Sałkowska1, Anna M. Kamińska13
DOI: 10.5114/ninp.2013.35490
Neurol Neurochir Pol 2013;47(3):214-222.


Background and purpose

At present, more than 20 different forms of limb-girdle muscular dystrophies (LGMDs) are known (at least 7 autosomal dominant and 14 autosomal recessive). Although these different forms show some typical phenotypic characteristics, the existing clinical overlap makes their differential diagnosis difficult. Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2 (LGMD2A) is the most prevalent LGMD in many European as well as Brazilian communities and is caused by mutations in the gene CAPN3. Laboratory testing, such as calpain immunohistochemistry and Western-blot analysis, is not totally reliable, since up to 20% of molecularly confirmed LGMD2A show normal content of calpain 3 and a third of LGMD2A biopsies have normal calpain 3 proteolytic activity in the muscle. Thus, genetic testing is considered as the only reliable diagnostic criterion in LGMD2A.

Material and methods

In an attempt to find a correlation between genotype and muscle pathology in limb-girdle muscular dystrophy 2A we performed histopathological investigation of a group of 31 patients subdivided according to the type of pathologic CAPN3 gene mutation.


In all biopsies typical features of muscular dystrophy such as fiber necrosis and regeneration, variation in fiber size and fibrosis were noted. Lobulated fibers were often encountered in the muscle biopsies of LGMD2A patients. Such fibers were more frequent in patients with 550delA mutation.


These findings may be helpful in establishing diagnostic strategies in LGMD.

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Neurologia i Neurochirurgia Polska