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Circulation. 1993 Jun;87(6):1854-65.

X-linked dilated cardiomyopathy. Molecular genetic evidence of linkage to the Duchenne muscular dystrophy (dystrophin) gene at the Xp21 locus.

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Baylor College of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Houston, TX 77030.



X-linked cardiomyopathy (XLCM) is a rapidly progressive primary myocardial disorder presenting in teenage males as congestive heart failure. Manifesting female carriers have later onset (fifth decade) and slower progression. The purpose of this study was to localize the XLCM gene locus in two families using molecular genetic techniques.


Linkage analysis using 60 X-chromosome-specific DNA markers was performed in a previously reported large XLCM pedigree and a smaller new pedigree. Two-point and multipoint linkage was calculated using the LINKAGE computer program package. Deletion analysis included multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Dystrophin protein was evaluated by Western blotting with N-terminal and C-terminal dystrophin antibody. Linkage of XLCM to the centromeric portion of the dystrophin or Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) locus at Xp21 was demonstrated with combined maximum logarithm of the scores of +4.33, theta = 0 with probe XJ1.1 (DXS206) using two-point linkage and +4.81 at XJ1.1 with multipoint linkage analysis. LOD scores calculated using other proximal DMD genomic and cDNA probes and polymerase chain reaction polymorphisms supported linkage. No deletions were observed. Abnormalities of cardiac dystrophin were shown by Western blotting with N-terminal dystrophin antibody, whereas skeletal muscle dystrophin was normal, suggesting primary involvement of the DMD gene with preferential involvement of cardiac muscle.


XLCM is due to an abnormality within the centromeric half of the dystrophin genomic region in heart. This abnormality could be due to 1) a point mutation in the 5' region of the DMD coding sequence preferentially affecting cardiac function, 2) a cardiac-specific promoter mutation that alters expression in this tissue, 3) splicing abnormalities, resulting in an abnormal cardiac protein, or 4) deletion mutations undetectable by Southern and multiplex polymerase chain reaction analysis.

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