Autosomal recessive Bethlem myopathy: A clinical, genetic and functional study

Neuromuscul Disord. 2019 Sep;29(9):657-663. doi: 10.1016/j.nmd.2019.07.007. Epub 2019 Jul 30.


Bethlem myopathy represents the milder form of the spectrum of Collagen VI-related dystrophies, which are characterized by a clinical continuum between the two extremities, the Bethlem myopathy and the Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy, and include less defined intermediate phenotypes. Bethlem myopathy is mainly an autosomal dominant disorder and the causing mutations occur in the COL6A genes encoding for the α1 (COL6A1), α2 (COL6A2) and α3 (COL6A3) chains. However, few cases of recessive inheritance have been also reported. We here describe clinical, genetic and functional findings in a recessive Bethlem myopathy family harbouring two novel pathogenic mutations in the COL6A2 gene. Two adult siblings presented with muscle weakness and wasting, elbows and Achilles tendon retractions, lumbar hyperlordosis, waddling gait and positive Gowers' sign. Muscle biopsy showed a dystrophic pattern. Molecular analysis of the COL6A2 gene revealed the novel paternally-inherited nonsense p.Gln889* mutation and the maternally-inherited p.Pro260_Lys261insProPro small insertion. Fibroblast studies in both affected patients showed the concomitant reduction in the amount of normal Collagen VI (p.Gln889*) and impairment of Collagen VI secretion and assembly (p.Pro260_Lys261insProPro). Each of the two variants behave as a recessive mutation as shown by the asymptomatic heterozygous parents, while their concomitant effects determined a relatively mild Bethlem myopathy phenotype. This study confirms the occurrence of recessive inherited Bethlem myopathy and expands the genetic heterogeneity of this group of muscle diseases.

Keywords: Bethlem myopathy; COL6A2; Collagen VI; Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Codon, Nonsense
  • Collagen Type VI / genetics
  • Collagen Type VI / metabolism*
  • Contracture / genetics*
  • Contracture / metabolism
  • Contracture / pathology
  • Contracture / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inheritance Patterns*
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • Muscular Dystrophies / congenital*
  • Muscular Dystrophies / genetics
  • Muscular Dystrophies / metabolism
  • Muscular Dystrophies / pathology
  • Muscular Dystrophies / physiopathology
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional
  • Primary Cell Culture
  • Protein Multimerization / genetics
  • Siblings
  • Young Adult


  • COL6A2 protein, human
  • Codon, Nonsense
  • Collagen Type VI

Supplementary concepts

  • Bethlem myopathy