Segmental distribution of muscle weakness in SMA III: implications for deterioration in muscle strength with time

Neuromuscul Disord. 1997 Dec;7(8):521-8. doi: 10.1016/s0960-8966(97)00113-2.


We examined 26 spinal muscular atrophy type III (SMA III) patients with SMNt deletions, searching for possible segmental distribution of muscle weakness. In those with disease duration of < or = 11 years, the weakest muscles were upper lumbar innervated ones in the lower extremities. In the upper extremities, early involvement of triceps muscle suggested the possibility of lower cervical (C7) onset. Electrophysiologically, weaker muscles had a more severe reduction in the recruitment pattern, particularly in the lower extremities. However, severe reduction in recruitment was sometimes also observed in clinically strong muscles. In patients with disease duration of > or = 16 years and regardless of disease duration, in those with disease onset at < or = 3 years of age, weakness and severe electrophysiological changes were more widespread. These findings may suggest a progression in muscle weakness with time. When compared to 12 patients with Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD), early stage SMA III with weak iliopsoas-strong gluteus maximus stood in contrast to BMD with weak gluteus maximus-strong iliopsoas.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Child
  • Dystrophin / genetics
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Gene Deletion
  • Homozygote*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Weakness / genetics
  • Muscle Weakness / physiopathology*
  • Muscular Atrophy, Spinal / genetics
  • Muscular Atrophy, Spinal / physiopathology*
  • Muscular Dystrophies / physiopathology
  • Time Factors


  • Dystrophin