RYR1-related malignant hyperthermia with marked cerebellar involvement - a paradigm of heat-induced CNS injury?

Neuromuscul Disord. 2015 Feb;25(2):138-40. doi: 10.1016/j.nmd.2014.10.008. Epub 2014 Oct 31.


Heat-induced CNS injury has been recognized for more than 50 years but the biological basis for the marked selectivity of CNS damage is currently uncertain. We present clinical, imaging, autopsy and genetic findings of a 14-year-old male who developed fatal cerebellar swelling in the course of a malignant hyperthermia (MH) episode caused by triggering anaesthetics. Unaccustomed intense exercise in the days prior to general anaesthesia was a probable confounding factor for the MH reaction. Autopsy findings demonstrated pronounced degeneration of cerebellar Purkinje cells. Post mortem genetic analysis revealed a mutation (c.6502G>A; p.Val2168Met) in the skeletal muscle ryanodine receptor (RYR1) gene previously associated with the MH trait. RYR1 mutations appear to be associated with heat-induced CNS injury in a distribution compatible with known expression pattern of the RyR1 isoform in cerebellar Purkinje cells. Recent exercise in genetically predisposed individuals may prime abnormal muscle prior to general anaesthesia and contribute to the severity of MH reactions.

Keywords: Cerebellum; Heat-induced injury; Malignant hyperthermia (MH); Malignant hyperthermia susceptibility (MHS); Skeletal muscle ryanodine receptor (RYR1) gene.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Appendectomy
  • Cerebellum / pathology*
  • Fever / genetics*
  • Fever / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Mutation / genetics*
  • Ryanodine Receptor Calcium Release Channel / genetics*


  • Ryanodine Receptor Calcium Release Channel