The pathologic changes in myotonic dystrophy (DM) skeletal muscle biopsies have been analyzed at both the histochemical and molecular level. A histochemical stain for pretyping single fibers in conjunction with sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis allowed biochemical differences to be pinpointed in specific histochemical fiber types. These biochemical differences can be related to histochemical changes in fiber type observed in cross-section of the DM biopsies. Such changes included specific fiber type atrophy, hypertrophy, and disproportion. The pathogenesis of DM appears to be characterized by a large increase in the number of promiscuous fibers, that is, those fibers that express both fast and slow myosins. This promiscuity, which is rare in control muscle (<2%), is also prevalent at high levels in some family members at risk for DM. The observed promiscuity, although probably not a primary effect of DM, appears to be linked to the histochemical changes in fiber type observed in the DM biopsies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Physiology (medical)