Phenotypic stratification and genotype-phenotype correlation in a heterogeneous, international cohort of GNE myopathy patients: First report from the GNE myopathy Disease Monitoring Program, registry portion

Neuromuscul Disord. 2018 Feb;28(2):158-168. doi: 10.1016/j.nmd.2017.11.001. Epub 2017 Nov 14.


GNE myopathy is a rare distal myopathy, caused by mutations in the GNE gene, affecting sialic acid synthesis. Clinical presentation varies from asymptomatic early stage patients to severely debilitating forms. This first report describes clinical presentations and severity of the disease, using data of 150 patients collected via the on-line, patient-reported registry component of the GNE Myopathy Disease Monitoring Program (GNEM-DMP). Disease progression was prospectively analysed, over a 2-year period, using the GNE myopathy functional activity scale (GNEM-FAS). The average annual rates of decline in function were estimated at -9.6% and -3.2% in ambulant and non-ambulant patients respectively. 4.3% of participants became non-ambulant within one year. The mean time from onset to required use of a wheelchair was 11.9 years. Mean delay of genetic diagnosis from symptom onset was 5.2 years. Mutation specific analysis demonstrated genotype-phenotype relationships; i.e. p.Ala662Val may be associated with a more severe phenotype, compared to p.Val727Met. Patients with compound heterozygous mutation in epimerase and kinase domain appeared to have a more severe phenotype compared to patients with both mutations located within one domain. Acknowledging the limitations of the study, these findings suggest that the severity of the GNE mutations affects disease severity. The GNEM-DMP is a useful data collection tool, prospectively measuring the progression of GNE myopathy, which could play an important role in translational and clinical research and further understanding of genotype-phenotype correlations.

Keywords: Distal myopathy; Epidemiology; GNE myopathy; Genotype-phenotype correlation; Hereditary inclusion body myopathy; Rare neuromuscular disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disease Progression
  • Distal Myopathies / epidemiology*
  • Distal Myopathies / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • Humans
  • Internationality
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multienzyme Complexes / genetics
  • Phenotype
  • Registries
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Young Adult


  • Multienzyme Complexes
  • UDP-N-acetylglucosamine 2-epimerase - N-acetylmannosamine kinase

Supplementary concepts

  • Distal myopathy, Nonaka type