Desmin-related myofibrillar myopathy

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Desmin-related myofibrillar myopathy
a-d)Skeletal muscle section from left quadriceps muscle biopsy

Desmin-related myofibrillar myopathy, is a subgroup of the myofibrillar myopathy diseases and is the result of a mutation in the gene that codes for desmin which prevents it from forming protein filaments, instead forming aggregates of desmin and other proteins throughout the cell.[1][2]

Signs and symptoms

Common symptoms of the disease are weakness and atrophy in the distal muscles of the lower limbs which progresses to the hands and arms, then to the trunk, neck and face. Respiratory impairment often follows.


There are three major types of inheritance for this disease: Autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive and de novo.

  • The most severe form is autosomal recessive and it also has the earliest onset.[3] It usually involves all three muscle tissues and leads to cardiac and respiratory failure as well as intestinal obstruction.[3]
  • Autosomal Dominant inheritance shows a later onset and slower progression. It usually involves only one or two of the muscle tissues.[3]
  • De novo diseases occur when a new mutation arises in the person that was not inherited through either parent. This form has a wide range of symptoms and varies depending on the mutation made.[3]


The sarcomeres become misaligned and result in the disorganization of muscle fibers.[1] This mutation also results in muscle cell death by apoptosis and necrosis.[1] The muscle cell may also be disorganized because the aggregates may interrupt other filament structures and/or normal cellular function.[3]

Desminopathies are very rare diseases and As of 2004 only 60 patients have been diagnosed, however this number probably does not accurately represent the population due to frequent mis or under diagnosis.[3]


Desminopathies are diagnosed by genetic analysis. Because mutations in several further genes might be pathogenic for skeletal and cardiac myopathies, gene panels or whole exome sequence analysis are mostly used. Sanger sequencing is consequently used to verify NGS-data.


There is currently no cure for the disease but treatments to help the symptoms are available.[3]


Prognosis strongly depends on which subtype of disease it is. Some are deadly in infancy but most are late onset and mostly manageable.[4][5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Bär H, Strelkov SV, Sjöberg G, Aebi U, Herrmann H (November 2004). "The biology of desmin filaments: how do mutations affect their structure, assembly, and organisation?". J. Struct. Biol. 148 (2): 137–52. doi:10.1016/j.jsb.2004.04.003. PMID 15477095.
  2. Brodehl A, Hedde PN, Dieding M, Fatima A, Walhorn V, Gayda S, Šarić T, Klauke B, Gummert J, Anselmetti D, Heilemann M, Nienhaus GU, Milting H (May 2012). "Dual color photoactivation localization microscopy of cardiomyopathy-associated desmin mutants". J Biol Chem. 287 (19): 16047–57. doi:10.1074/jbc.M111.313841. PMC 3346104. PMID 22403400.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Goldfarb LG, Vicart P, Goebel HH, Dalakas MC (April 2004). "Desmin myopathy". Brain. 127 (Pt 4): 723–34. doi:10.1093/brain/awh033. PMID 14724127.
  4. Selcen, Duygu; Ohno, Kinji; Engel, Andrew G. (2004-02-01). "Myofibrillar myopathy: clinical, morphological and genetic studies in 63 patients". Brain. 127 (2): 439–451. doi:10.1093/brain/awh052. ISSN 0006-8950. PMID 14711882.
  5. Selcen, Duygu (October 29, 2012). "Myofibrillar Myopathy – RETIRED CHAPTER, FOR HISTORICAL REFERENCE ONLY". Myofibrillar Myopathy. GeneReviews. National Institute of Heath, United States. PMID 20301672. Archived from the original on May 25, 2022. Retrieved June 16, 2022.

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