Congenital muscular dystrophy. Part I: a review of phenotypical and diagnostic aspects

Arq Neuropsiquiatr. 2009 Mar;67(1):144-68. doi: 10.1590/s0004-282x2009000100038.


The congenital muscular dystrophies (CMDs) are a group of genetically and clinically heterogeneous hereditary myopathies with preferentially autosomal recessive inheritance, that are characterized by congenital hypotonia, delayed motor development and early onset of progressive muscle weakness associated with dystrophic pattern on muscle biopsy. The clinical course is broadly variable and can comprise the involvement of the brain and eyes. From 1994, a great development in the knowledge of the molecular basis has occurred and the classification of CMDs has to be continuously up dated. We initially present the main clinical and diagnostic data concerning the CMDs related to changes in the complex dystrophin-associated glycoproteins-extracellular matrix: CMD with merosin deficiency (CMD1A), collagen VI related CMDs (Ullrich CMD and Bethlem myopathy), CMDs with abnormal glycosylation of alpha-dystroglycan (Fukuyama CMD, Muscle-eye-brain disease, Walker-Warburg syndrome, CMD1C, CMD1D), and the much rarer CMD with integrin deficiency. Finally, we present other forms of CMDs not related with the dystrophin/glycoproteins/extracellular matrix complex (rigid spine syndrome, CMD1B, CMD with lamin A/C deficiency), and some apparently specific clinical forms not yet associated with a known molecular mechanism. The second part of this review concerning the pathogenesis and therapeutic perspectives of the different subtypes of CMD will be described in a next number.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Collagen Type VI / deficiency
  • Dystroglycans / deficiency
  • Glycosylation
  • Humans
  • Laminin / deficiency
  • MERRF Syndrome
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • Muscular Dystrophies / congenital
  • Muscular Dystrophies / genetics*
  • Muscular Dystrophies / pathology
  • Phenotype


  • Collagen Type VI
  • DAG1 protein, human
  • Laminin
  • Dystroglycans