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J Child Neurol. 2000 Sep;15(9):565-72.

Progress in desmin-related myopathies.

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  • 1Department of Neuropathology, Johannes Gutenberg University, Medical Center, Mainz, Germany.


Desmin-related myopathies are sporadic and familial neuromuscular conditions of considerable clinical heterogeneity uniformly marked by the pathologic accretion of desmin, often in a filamentous fashion. A large variety of other proteins, some of them cytoskeletal, also accrue. Morphologically, two types may be distinguished, one characterized by inclusions such as cytoplasmic and spheroid bodies or desmin-dystrophin plaques and another marked by granulofilamentous material. The genetic spectrum of desmin-related myopathies is quite diverse in that missense mutations and deletions in the desmin gene and a missense mutation in the alpha-B crystallin gene have been detected and several genes on other chromosomes have been mapped; the encoded protein products of these genes, however, are unknown. Accumulation of desmin and other proteins appears to be due to impaired nonlysosomal proteolysis. Mutant desmin that appears to be hyperphosphorylated seems to act as a seed protein for filament aggregation, inducing formation of inclusions and granulofilamentous material in these conditions. This condition is part of the group of disorders known as "surplus protein myopathies."

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