Objectives and methods: Mutations in the gene encoding dysferlin cause limb girdle muscular dystrophy type 2B (LGMD2B), distal Miyoshi myopathy (MM), and a rare form of distal anterior compartment myopathy. To study the correlations between clinical manifestations and muscle imaging changes we conducted a 3.0-T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study in six German patients with primary dysferlinopathies defined by absence of dysferlin expression in muscle (MM, n = 3; LGMD2B, n = 2; hyperCKemia without clinical symptoms, n = 1).
Results: Patients with manifest myopathy had widespread muscular pathology. In analogy to previous imaging studies, we confirmed an involvement of the anterior and posterior thigh compartments and a predominant involvement of posterior lower legs. However, our whole-body MRI study further provided evidence of signal alterations in the glutei, erector spinae and shoulder girdle muscles. Correlation of clinical findings with imaging demonstrated the potential of MRI to detect subclinical muscle pathology.
Conclusions: Whole-body 3.0-T MRI is a non-invasive method to demonstrate various degrees of skeletal muscle alterations and disease progression in muscular dystrophies. Furthermore, whole-body high-field MRI may serve as a helpful diagnostic tool in differentiating primary dysferlinopathies from other forms of LGMD and distal myopathies.