Brain alterations in the classical form of congenital muscular dystrophy. Clinical and neuroimaging follow-up of 12 cases and correlation with the expression of merosin in muscle

Childs Nerv Syst. 1996 Oct;12(10):604-10. doi: 10.1007/BF00261655.


In the classical form of congenital muscular dystrophy (CMD), subclinical brain involvement is frequent. In order to establish the natural evolution of CNS alterations in this type of CMD, the cerebral functions of 12 cases were examined longitudinally for a mean period of 8 years. There were 7 boys and 5 girls, with a mean age of 5 years at first evaluation and 13 at the last one. Merosin expression in muscle fiber basement membrane, evaluated in 10 of them, was normal in 6 and deficient in 4. CNS conditions were followed up by repeated neuropsychiatric examinations, intelligence tests, EEG and brain CT scan and/or MRI. Eight of the 12 patients (including the 4 with merosin-deficiency) had normal intelligence, while 4 had mild to moderate mental retardation: in all the intellectual ability was unchanged during the follow-up study. CT scan detected minor brain alterations in 9 patients: 6 of these, the 4 with merosin deficiency and 2 others in whom merosin was not evaluated, presented leukoencephalopathy: on neuroimaging reappraisal it was unchanged in 3, improved in 2 and worse in 1 (a merosin-deficient case). Cerebellar alterations or mild ventricular dilatation were detected in 8 cases, including 3 merosin-non-deficient ones: these abnormalities were unchanged at the last study by CT and MRI, as were the normal neuroimaging findings observed in 3 other cases. Overall, during our study the brain alterations found in classical CMD showed a stationary or an improving course; progressive worsening was observed only in 1 of 4 merosin-deficient cases with leukoencephalopathy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Laminin / analysis*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / chemistry*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / ultrastructure*
  • Muscular Dystrophies / congenital*
  • Muscular Dystrophies / physiopathology*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Laminin