Biomolecular identification of (CCTG)n mutation in myotonic dystrophy type 2 (DM2) by FISH on muscle biopsy

Eur J Histochem. Oct-Dec 2004;48(4):437-42. doi: 10.4081/918.


Myotonic dystrophy type 2 (DM2) is a dominantly inherited disorder with multisystemic clinical features, caused by a CCTG repeat expansion in intron 1 of the zinc finger protein 9 (ZNF9) gene. The mutant transcripts are retained in the nucleus forming multiple discrete foci also called ribonuclear inclusions. The size and the somatic instability of DM2 expansion complicate the molecular diagnosis of DM2. In our study fluorescence-labeled CAGG-repeat oligonucleotides were hybridized to muscle biopsies to investigate if fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), a relatively quick and simple procedure, could be used as a method to diagnose DM2. When FISH was performed with (CAGG)5 probe, nuclear foci of mutant RNA were present in all genetically confirmed DM2 patients (n=17) and absent in all patients with myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1; n=5) or with other muscular disease (n=17) used as controls. In contrast, foci were observed both in DM1 and DM2 myonuclei when muscle tissue were hybridized with (CAG)6CA probe indicating that this probe is not specific for DM2 identification. The consistent detection of ribonuclear inclusions in DM2 muscles and their absence in DM1, in agreement with the clinical diagnosis and with leukocyte (CCTG)n expansion, suggests that fluorescence in situ hybridization using (CAGG)5 probes, may be a specific method to distinguish between DM1 and DM2. Moreover, the procedure is simple, and readily applicable in any pathology laboratory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Base Sequence
  • Biopsy
  • DNA Repeat Expansion*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Probes
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology*
  • Myotonic Dystrophy / genetics*
  • Myotonic Dystrophy / pathology


  • Molecular Probes