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Microsc Res Tech. 2000 Feb 1-15;48(3-4):181-91.

Merosin and congenital muscular dystrophy.

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Department of Molecular Genetics, National Institute of Neuroscience, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, 4-1-1 Ogawa-higashi, Kodaira, Tokyo 187-8502, Japan.


Merosin (also called as Laminin-2) is an isoform of laminin comprised of the alpha2, beta1 and gamma1 chains. In European populations, half of the patients with classical congenital muscular dystrophy have mutations of the LAMA2 gene (6q22-23) and present reduced or absence of laminin alpha2 chain. This form is generally referred to as merosin-deficient CMD. Merosin-deficient CMD is characterized by involvement of not only skeletal muscle but also central and peripheral nervous systems: Extensive brain white matter abnormalities are found by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). However, most patients show no mental retardation. Recent case studies reported that some patients have several structural abnormalities such as abnormal cerebral cortical gyration, hypoplasia of cerebellum and pons, and dilation of ventricles. At present, functions of merosin related to muscle degeneration have not been fully elucidated. In addition, the mechanisms responsible for pathogenesis of diffuse brain white matter abnormalities remain to be determined. As mouse models for merosin-deficient CMD, three spontaneous mutants(dy, dy(2J), dy(PAS1)) and two mutants named dy(W) and dy(3K) by targeted gene disruption have been reported. These mice will help to elucidate the pathogenesis of merosin-deficient CMD and serve to develop therapy.

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