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Neurology. 2016 Jul 5;87(1):71-6. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000002800. Epub 2016 Jun 8.

The genetic basis of undiagnosed muscular dystrophies and myopathies: Results from 504 patients.

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From the Dipartimento di Biochimica Biofisica e Patologia Generale (M.S., G.D.F., A. Torella, A.G., T.G., F.D.V.B., G.E., G.P., V.N.), Seconda Università di Napoli; Telethon Institute of Genetics and Medicine (M.S., G.D.F., A. Torella, M. Mutarelli, V.S.M., A.G., T.G., G.E., V.N.), Pozzuoli; U.O.C. Neurologia Pediatrica e Malattie Muscolari (C.F., C.M., C.B.), IRCCS Istituto Giannina Gaslini, Genova; Centro Dino Ferrari, Dipartimento di Fisiopatologia Medico-Chirurgica e dei Trapianti (F.M., D.R., G.P.C.), and Neuromuscular and Rare Disease Unit, Dipartimento di Neuroscienze (M. Moggio), Università degli Studi di Milano, Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda, Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan; Dipartimento di Neuroscienze (M. Fanin, E.P.), Università di Padova; Dipartimento di Neuroscienze e Scienze Riproduttive ed Odontostomatologiche (L.R., L.S.), Università degli Studi di Napoli "Federico II," Napoli; Dipartimento di Medicina Clinica e Sperimentale (G.R., G.S.), Università degli Studi di Pisa; Medicina Molecolare (G.A., F.M.S.), IRCCS Fondazione Stella Maris, Pisa; Dipartimento di Medicina Sperimentale (L. Passamano, P.D., R.P., L. Politano) and Dipartimento di Scienze Mediche, Chirurgiche, Neurologiche, Metaboliche, e dell'Invecchiamento (O.F., S.S., G.D.I.), Seconda Università di Napoli; Dipartimento di Neuroscienze (A.R., M. Mora, L.M.), Istituto Besta, Milano; Don Carlo Gnocchi ONLUS Foundation (G.T.), Milano; Dipartimento di Neuroscienze (A.D., E.B.), IRCCS Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù, Roma, Italy; Center for Medical Genetics (S.J., K.C.) and Department of Neurology (J.D.B.), Ghent University Hospital, Belgium; Dipartimento di Neuroscienze (O.M., C.R., S.M., A. Toscano), Università degli Studi di Messina, Italy; Folkhälsan Institute of Genetics (A.E., P.H., B.U.), University of Helsinki, Finland; Section for Neuromuscular Diseases and Neuropathies (M. Filosto), Unit of Clinical Neurology, University Hospital 'Spedali Civili,' Brescia, Italy; Neuromusc



To apply next-generation sequencing (NGS) for the investigation of the genetic basis of undiagnosed muscular dystrophies and myopathies in a very large cohort of patients.


We applied an NGS-based platform named MotorPlex to our diagnostic workflow to test muscle disease genes with a high sensitivity and specificity for small DNA variants. We analyzed 504 undiagnosed patients mostly referred as being affected by limb-girdle muscular dystrophy or congenital myopathy.


MotorPlex provided a complete molecular diagnosis in 218 cases (43.3%). A further 160 patients (31.7%) showed as yet unproven candidate variants. Pathogenic variants were found in 47 of 93 genes, and in more than 30% of cases, the phenotype was nonconventional, broadening the spectrum of disease presentation in at least 10 genes.


Our large DNA study of patients with undiagnosed myopathy is an example of the ongoing revolution in molecular diagnostics, highlighting the advantages in using NGS as a first-tier approach for heterogeneous genetic conditions.

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