Dystrophinopathy in isolated cases of myopathy in females

Neurology. 1992 May;42(5):967-75. doi: 10.1212/wnl.42.5.967.


X-linked dystrophinopathy is the most common cause of isolated cases of myopathy in males. To investigate dystrophin abnormalities as a cause of myopathy in girls and women, we used dystrophin immunocytochemistry to study muscle biopsies from 505 girls and women with neuromuscular disease. Forty-six muscle biopsies showed a combination of fibers containing or lacking dystrophin; this mosaic immunostaining pattern denoted a carrier status. Twenty-one of 46 (45.6%) had a family history of Duchenne muscular dystrophy in males. Twenty-five of 46 (54.3%) were isolated cases, with no previous family history of neuromuscular disorder. The laboratory findings of the isolated cases were consistent with the familial cases; all showed myopathic histopathology and abnormal elevations of serum CK. The clinical presentations of the isolated cases varied but were consistent with the familial cases: 40% (10/25) of isolated cases showed proximal limb weakness before age 10, 24% (6/25) presented with myalgias or cramps, 24% (6/25) presented with incidental findings of grossly elevated CK levels, 8% (2/25) noted easy fatigue, and 4% (1/25) had slowly progressive proximal limb weakness beginning at age 45. From our data, the clinical criteria for consideration of an underlying dystrophinopathy in isolated female cases of myopathy are CK levels greater than 1,000 IU/l and myopathic histopathology. About 10% of the isolated cases of hyperCKemic myopathy (25/210) were proven by dystrophin analysis to have a dystrophinopathy as the cause of their disease (manifesting carriers of Duchenne dystrophy). However, we feel that this may be an underestimate. The correct diagnosis in these patients is imperative for appropriate genetic counseling to the patients and their families.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dystrophin / deficiency*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Infant
  • Karyotyping
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscles / pathology
  • Neuromuscular Diseases / genetics
  • Neuromuscular Diseases / metabolism*
  • Sex Factors


  • Dystrophin