Browsing by Organization "Folkhälsan Institute of Genetics, Helsinki"

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  • Naukkarinen, Anna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    Myotonic dystrophies type 1 (DM1) and type 2 (DM2) are the most common forms of muscular dystrophy affecting adults. They are autosomal dominant diseases caused by microsatellite tri- or tetranucleotide repeat expansion mutations in transcribed but not translated gene regions. The mutant RNA accumulates in nuclei disturbing the expression of several genes. The more recently identified DM2 disease is less well known, yet more than 300 patients have been confirmed in Finland thus far, and the true number is believed to be much higher. DM1 and DM2 share some features in general clinical presentation and molecular pathology, yet they show distinctive differences, including disease severity and differential muscle and fiber type involvement. However, the molecular differences underlying DM1 and DM2 muscle pathology are not well understood. Although the primary tissue affected is muscle, both DMs show a multisystemic phenotype due to wide expression of the mutation-carrying genes. DM2 is particularly intriguing, as it shows an incredibly wide spectrum of clinical manifestations. For this reason, it constitutes a real diagnostic challenge. The core symptoms in DM2 include proximal muscle weakness, muscle pain, myotonia, cataracts, cardiac conduction defects and endocrinological disturbations; however, none of these is mandatory for the disease. Myalgic pains may be the most disabling symptom for decades, sometimes leading to incapacity for work. In addition, DM2 may cause major socio-economical consequences for the patient, if not diagnosed, due to misunderstanding and false stigmatization. In this thesis work, we have (I) improved DM2 differential diagnostics based on muscle biopsy, and (II) described abnormalities in mRNA and protein expression in DM1 and DM2 patient skeletal muscles, showing partial differences between the two diseases, which may contribute to muscle pathology in these diseases. This is the first description of histopathological differences between DM1 and DM2, which can be used in differential diagnostics. Two novel high-resolution applications of in situ -hybridization have been described, which can be used for direct visualization of the DM2 mutation in muscle biopsy sections, or mutation size determination on extended DNA-fibers. By measuring protein and mRNA expression in the samples, differential changes in expression patterns affecting contractile proteins, other structural proteins and calcium handling proteins in DM2 compared to DM1 were found. The dysregulation at mRNA level was caused by altered transciption and abnormal splicing. The findings reported here indicate that the extent of aberrant splicing is higher in DM2 compared to DM1. In addition, the described abnormalities to some extent correlate to the differences in fiber type involvement in the two disorders.