Caveolinopathy: Clinical, histological, and muscle imaging features and follow-up in a multicenter retrospective cohort

Eur J Neurol. 2023 Aug;30(8):2506-2517. doi: 10.1111/ene.15832. Epub 2023 May 25.


Background and purpose: CAV3 gene mutations, mostly inherited as an autosomal dominant trait, cause various skeletal muscle diseases. Clinical presentations encompass proximal myopathy, distal myopathy, or isolated persistent high creatine kinase (CK) with a major overlapping phenotype.

Methods: Twenty-three patients with CAV3 symptomatic mutations, from 16 different families, were included in a retrospective cohort. Mean follow-up duration was 24.2 ± 15.0 years. Clinical and functional data were collected during the follow-up. The results of muscle imaging, electroneuromyography, muscle histopathology, immunohistochemistry, and caveolin-3 Western blot analysis were also compiled.

Results: Exercise intolerance was the most common phenotype (52%). Eighty percent of patients had calf hypertrophy, and only 65% of patients presented rippling. One patient presented initially with camptocormia. A walking aid was required in only two patients. Electroneuromyography was mostly normal. CK level was elevated in all patients. No patient had cardiac or respiratory impairment. Muscle imaging showed fatty involvement of semimembranosus, semitendinosus, rectus femoris, biceps brachialis, and spinal muscles. Almost all (87%) of the biopsies were abnormal but without any specific pattern. Whereas a quarter of patients had normal caveolin-3 immunohistochemistry results, Western blots disclosed a reduced amount of the protein. We report nine mutations, including four not previously described. No phenotype-genotype correlation was evidenced.

Conclusions: Caveolinopathy has diverse clinical, muscle imaging, and histological presentations but often has limited functional impact. Mild forms of the disease, an atypical phenotype, and normal caveolin-3 immunostaining are pitfalls leading to misdiagnosis.

Keywords: CAV3; caveolin-3; muscle imaging; myopathy; rippling muscle disease.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Caveolin 3* / genetics
  • Caveolin 3* / metabolism
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • Muscular Diseases* / diagnostic imaging
  • Muscular Diseases* / genetics
  • Muscular Diseases* / metabolism
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Caveolin 3