We describe 17 individuals from seven families with a slowly progressive, early onset, autosomal dominant myopathy with proximal muscle weakness, calf hypertrophy, contractures, spinal rigidity and, in five of the adult cases, a cardiac conduction defect. A deficiency of the laminin beta 1 chain of the skeletal muscle fibres was found in the older individuals of these families, but not the younger members. Other laminin chains, dystrophin and the dystrophin-associated glycoproteins were normal. The age-related deficiency of the laminin beta 1 is restricted to the skeletal muscle fibres and not the vascular tissue, suggesting that this may be a secondary phenomenon. These findings suggest that a laminin or a laminin-binding protein is implicated in some forms of dominant limb girdle myopathies.