Phenotype and sarcoglycan expression in Tunisian LGMD 2C patients sharing the same del521-T mutation

M Kefi, R Amouri, A Driss, C Ben Hamida, M Ben Hamida, L M Kunkel, F Hentati
Neuromuscular Disorders: NMD 2003, 13 (10): 779-87
Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2C is an autosomal recessive muscular disorder caused by mutations in the gene encoding the gamma-sarcoglycan subunit. This gamma-sarcoglycanopathy is prevalent in Tunisia where only one homozygous mutation a 521-T deletion has been identified. The aim of this study was to carry out a comparative clinical and immunocytochemical analysis of Tunisian patients sharing the same gamma-sarcoglycan gene mutation. One hundred and thirty-two patients were classified as severe, moderate or mild according to a calculated severity score. Heterogeneous phenotypes between siblings were encountered in 75% of the families. The severity of the disease was not found to be related to the age of onset. Immunohistochemical studies of muscle biopsy showed a total absence of gamma-sarcoglycan, a normal or slightly reduced alpha and delta-sarcoglycans whereas the expression of beta-sarcoglycan was variable. The residual sarcoglycan expression was not related to the clinical phenotype. In conclusion, the phenotypic variability in sarcoglycanopathies in Tunisia seems to involve a modifying gene controlling the course of the disease.

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