Clinical and molecular genetic spectrum of autosomal dominant Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy due to mutations of the lamin A/C gene

Ann Neurol. 2000 Aug;48(2):170-80.


Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy (EDMD) is characterized by early contractures of the elbows and Achilles tendons, slowly progressive muscle wasting and weakness, and life-threatening cardiomyopathy with conduction blocks. We recently identified LMNA encoding two nuclear envelope proteins, lamins A and C, to be implicated in the autosomal dominant form of EDMD. Here, we report on the variability of the phenotype and spectrum of LMNA mutations in 53 autosomal dominant EDMD patients (36 members of 6 families and 17 sporadic cases). Twelve of the 53 patients showed cardiac involvement exclusively, although the remaining 41 all showed muscle weakness and contractures. We were able to identify a common phenotype among the patients with skeletal muscle involvement, consisting of humeroperoneal wasting and weakness, scapular winging, rigidity of the spine, and elbow and Achilles tendon contractures. The disease course was generally slow, but we observed either a milder phenotype characterized by late onset and a mild degree of weakness and contractures or a more severe phenotype with early presentation and a rapidly progressive course in a few cases. Mutation analysis identified 18 mutations in LMNA (i.e., 1 nonsense mutation, 2 deletions of a codon, and 15 missense mutations). All the mutations were distributed between exons 1 and 9 in the region of LMNA that is common to lamins A and C. LMNA mutations arose de novo in 76% of the cases; 2 of these de novo mutations were typical hot spots, and 2 others were identified in 2 unrelated cases. There was no clear correlation between the phenotype and type or localization of the mutations within the gene. Moreover, a marked inter- and intra-familial variability in the clinical expression of LMNA mutations exists, ranging from patients expressing the full clinical picture of EDMD to those characterized only by cardiac involvement, which points toward a significant role of possible modifier genes in the course of this disease. In conclusion, the high proportion of de novo mutations together with the large spectrum of both LMNA mutations and the expression of the disease should now prompt screening for LMNA in familial and sporadic cases of both EDMD and dilated cardiomyopathy associated with conduction system disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Aged
  • Biopsy
  • Cardiovascular Physiological Phenomena
  • Child
  • Contracture / diagnosis
  • Contracture / physiopathology
  • Creatine Kinase / blood
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Gene Deletion
  • Genes, Dominant / genetics*
  • Genotype
  • Heart / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Lamin Type A
  • Lamins
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Weakness / diagnosis
  • Muscle Weakness / physiopathology
  • Muscular Atrophy / diagnosis
  • Muscular Atrophy / physiopathology
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Emery-Dreifuss / diagnosis
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Emery-Dreifuss / genetics*
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Emery-Dreifuss / physiopathology
  • Mutation, Missense*
  • Myocardium / pathology
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics*
  • Pedigree
  • Phenotype
  • Physical Examination


  • Lamin Type A
  • Lamins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Creatine Kinase