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J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2005 Jul;64(7):555-64.

X-linked myotubular and centronuclear myopathies.

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Department of Pathology, Children's Hospital Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Recent work has significantly enhanced our understanding of the centronuclear myopathies and, in particular, myotubular myopathy. These myopathies share similar morphologic appearances with other diseases, namely the presence of hypotrophic myofibers with prominent internalized or centrally placed nuclei. Early workers suggested that this alteration represented an arrest in myofiber maturation, while other hypotheses implicated either failure in myofiber maturation or neurogenic causes. Despite similarities in morphology, distinct patterns of inheritance and some differences in clinical features have been recognized among cases. A severe form, known as X-linked myotubular myopathy (XLMTM), presents at or near birth. Affected males have profound global hypotonia and weakness, accompanied by respiratory difficulties that often require ventilation. Most of these patients die in infancy or early childhood, but some survive into later childhood or even adulthood. The responsible gene (MTM1) has been cloned; it encodes a phosphoinositide lipid phosphatase known as myotubularin that appears to be important in muscle maintenance. In autosomal recessive centronuclear myopathy (AR CNM), the onset of weakness typically occurs in infancy or early childhood. Some investigators have divided AR CNM into 3 subgroups: 1) an early-onset form with ophthalmoparesis, 2) an early-onset form without ophthalmoparesis, and 3) a late-onset form without ophthalmoparesis. Clinically, autosomal dominant CNM (AD CNM) is relatively mild and usually presents in adults with a diffuse weakness that is slowly progressive and may be accompanied by muscle hypertrophy. Overall, the autosomal disorders are not as clinically uniform as XLMTM, which has made their genetic characterization more difficult. Currently the responsible gene(s) remain unknown. This review will explore the historical evolution in understanding of these myopathies and give an update on their histopathologic features, genetics and pathogenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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