Myofibrillary myopathies (MFM) are hereditary myopathies histologically characterized by degeneration of myofibrils and aggregation of proteins in striated muscle. Cardiomyopathy is common in MFM but the pathophysiological mechanisms are not well understood. The BAG3-Pro209Leu mutation is associated with early onset MFM and severe restrictive cardiomyopathy (RCM), often necessitating heart transplantation during childhood. We report on a young male patient with a BAG3-Pro209Leu mutation who underwent heart transplantation at eight years of age. Detailed morphological analyses of the explanted heart tissue showed intracytoplasmic inclusions, aggregation of BAG3 and desmin, disintegration of myofibers and Z-disk alterations. The presence of undegraded autophagosomes, seen by electron microscopy, as well as increased levels of p62, LC3-I and WIPI1, detected by immunohistochemistry and western blot analyses, indicated a dysregulation of autophagy. Parkin and PINK1, proteins involved in mitophagy, were slightly increased whereas mitochondrial OXPHOS activities were not altered. These findings indicate that altered autophagy plays a role in the pathogenesis and rapid progression of RCM in MFM caused by the BAG3-Pro209Leu mutation, which could have implications for future therapeutic strategies.
Keywords: Autophagy; BAG3; MFM; Mitophagy; Myofibrillar myopathy; Myopathy; OXPHOS; Restrictive cardiomyopathy.
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