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J Neurol. 2010 Jul;257(7):1108-18. doi: 10.1007/s00415-010-5471-1. Epub 2010 Feb 10.

Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy presenting with unusual phenotypes and atypical morphological features of vacuolar myopathy.

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  • 1Friedrich-Baur-Institute, Department of Neurology, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Ziemssenstr. 1, Munich, Germany.


Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) is the third most common muscular dystrophy and usually follows an autosomal dominant trait. Clinically, FSHD affects facial muscles and proximal upper limb and girdle muscles, but may present with variable clinical phenotypes even within the same family. Most genetically confirmed FSHD patients exhibit unspecific morphological signs of a degenerative myopathy. We report on five unrelated patients who carried the pathogenic FSHD mutation on chromosome 4q35. Muscle biopsies revealed numerous rimmed vacuoles and filamentous cytoplasmic inclusions in all cases. Clinically, the patients suffered from weakness and atrophy predominantly of the lower limb muscles. In conclusion, we suggest considering FSHD in the differential diagnosis of adult-onset distal myopathies with rimmed vacuoles.

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