JOURNAL ARTICLE

State of the art in hereditary muscle channelopathies

K Jurkat-Rott, F Lehmann-Horn
Acta Myologica: Myopathies and Cardiomyopathies: Official Journal of the Mediterranean Society of Myology 2010, 29 (2): 343-50
21314017
A combination of electrophysiological and genetic studies has resulted in the identification of several skeletal muscle disorders to be caused by pathologically functioning ion channels and has led to the term channelopathies. Typical hereditary muscle channelopa thies are congenital myasthenic syndromes, non-dystrophic myotonias, periodic paralyses, malignant hyperthermia, and central core disease. Most muscle channelopathies are commonly considered to be benign diseases. However, life-threatening weakness episodes or progressive permanent weakness may make these diseases severe, particularly the periodic paralyses (PP). Even in the typical PP forms characterized by episodic occurrence of weakness, up to 60% of the patients suffer from permanent weakness and myopathy with age. In addition, some PP patients present with a predominant progressive muscle weakness phenotype. The weakness can be explained by strongly depolarized fibers that take up sodium and water and that are electrically inexcitable. Drugs that repolarize the fiber membrane can restore muscle strength and may prevent progression.

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