Over the past 3 years, the genetics of the myotonic diseases have been substantially elaborated. Three genetically different groups of myotonic disease can be discerned: (1) the chloride channel myotonias, (2) the adynamiaparamyotonia complex, and (3) myotonic dystrophy.
Methods and Results:
Electrophysiology has suggested and molecular biology has proven that the diseases belonging to the adynamia-paramyotonia complex, ie, paramyotonia congenita, hyperkalemic and normokalemic periodic paralysis, and some rare forms of myotonic disease, are caused by point mutations in the gene encoding the α subunit of the sodium channel in adult human skeletal muscle, located on chromosome 17q23. Thirteen different mutations have been described by various groups in the United States and Germany. The various mutations causing a particular form of the complex are not located in the gene in a predictable or easily understandable regular manner.
Further study of the genotype-phenotype correlations should not only increase our understanding of the variability of signs in this group of diseases, it could also provide us with a deeper insight in the function of the various regions of the sodium channel protein.
Rüdel R, Ricker K, Lehmann-Horn F. Genotype-Phenotype Correlations in Human Skeletal Muscle Sodium Channel Diseases. Arch Neurol. 1993;50(11):1241–1248. doi:10.1001/archneur.1993.00540110113011
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