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Myology research highlights

Discover our weekly selection of scientific and medical publications in the field of myology and of neuromuscular diseases :  summary of each publication aimed at the general reader, highlighting the main points of the article and the authors’ conclusions
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For your information, there are at present more than 1100 news items on myology online.
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15/04/2014 - Association between RNA-processing proteins and muscle disorders

Limb-girdle muscular dystrophies (LGMD) are a heterogeneous group of genetically determined muscle disorders with a primary or predominant involvement of the pelvic or shoulder girdle musculature. More than 20 genes with autosomal recessive (LGMD2A to LGMD2Q) and autosomal dominant inheritance (LGMD1A to LGMD1H) have been mapped/identified to date. Mutations are known for six among the eight mapped autosomal dominant forms: LGMD1A (myotilin), LGMD1B (lamin A/C), LGMD1C (caveolin-3), LGMD1D (desmin), LGMD1E (DNAJB6), and more recently for LGMD1F (transportin-3). This group previously mapped the LGMD1G gene at 4q21 in a Caucasian-Brazilian family. They have now mapped a Uruguayan family with patients displaying a similar LGMD1G phenotype at the same locus. Whole genome sequencing identified, in both families, mutations in the HNRPDL gene. HNRPDL is a heterogeneous ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP) family member, which participates in mRNA biogenesis and metabolism. Functional studies performed in S. cerevisiae showed that the loss of HRP1 (yeast orthologue) had pronounced effects on both protein levels and cell localizations, and yeast proteome revealed dramatic reorganization of proteins involved in RNA processing pathways. In vivo analysis showed that hnrpdl is important for muscle development in zebrafish, causing a myopathic phenotype when knocked down. The present study presents a novel association between a muscular disorder and a RNA-related gene and reinforces the importance of RNA binding/processing proteins in muscle development and muscle disease. Understanding the role of these proteins in muscle might open new therapeutic approaches for muscular dystrophies.

15/04/2014 - A retrospective multicentric study in SMA type 1

Questions about care practices and the role of palliative care in pediatric neurodegenerative diseases have led the Neuromuscular Committee of the French Society of Neurology to conduct a retrospective study in spinal muscular atrophy type 1, a genetic disease most often leading to death before the age of 1 year. This was a multicenter study from paediatricians included in the reference centers of pediatric neuromuscular diseases was carried out on two 10-year periods (1989-1998 and 1999-2009). The 1989-1998 period included 12 centers with 106 patients, the 1999-2009 period 13 centers with 116 children. The mean age of onset of clinical signs was 2.1 months (range, 0-5.5 months), the median age at diagnosis was 4 months (range, 0-9 months) vs 3 months. The median age of death was 7.5 months (range, 0-24 months) vs 6 months. The care modalities included physiotherapy (90 %), motor support (61 % vs 26 % for the previous period), enteral nutrition by nasogastric tube (52 % vs 24 %), and 3.4 % of children had a gastrostomy (vs 1.8 %). At home, pharyngeal aspiration was used in 64 % (vs 41 %), oxygen therapy in 8 %, noninvasive ventilatory support in 7 %. The mean age at death was 8.1 months (range, 0-24 months) vs 7 months, the time from diagnosis to death was 4 months vs 3 months. Death occurred at home in 23 % vs 17 %, in a pediatric unit in 62 % vs 41 %. The use of analgesics and sedative drugs was reported in 60 % of cases: 40 % morphine (vs 18 %) and benzodiazepines in 48 % (vs 29 %). Respiratory support was limited mostly to oxygen by nasal tube (55 % vs 54 %), noninvasive ventilation in 9 % of the cases, and intubation and assisted mechanical ventilation (2 %). These results confirm a change in practices and the development of palliative care in children with a French consensus of practices quite different from the standard care in North-America and closer to the thinking of English medical teams. A prospective study within the 2011 national hospital clinical research program (PHRC 2011) is beginning in order to evaluate practices and the role of families and caregivers.