Evidence of left ventricular dysfunction in children with merosin-deficient congenital muscular dystrophy

Am Heart J. 1998 Sep;136(3):474-6. doi: 10.1016/s0002-8703(98)70222-4.


Background: Deficiency of the sarcolemmal protein dystrophin has been linked to dilated cardiomyopathy. Some children with congenital muscular dystrophy have a deficiency of the laminin alpha2 chain of merosin, an extracellular matrix protein linked to dystrophin through a group of glycoproteins. It has been shown that deficiency in one of these glycoproteins is responsible for muscular dystrophy and dilated cardiomyopathy. Children with laminin alpha2 deficiency may be at risk for development of cardiomyopathy.

Methods and results: We studied the cardiac function of a cohort of 16 children with congenital muscular dystrophy by using 2-dimensional echocardiography. The expression of the laminin alpha2 of merosin in the patients was determined on a skin or muscle biopsy. Two of 6 merosin-deficient children had an ejection fraction <40%. The average ejection fraction of the merosin-deficient children was 43%+/-11%, which was significantly lower than the merosin-positive children (53%+/-5%, P=.03).

Conclusions: This study suggests that a deficiency of laminin alpha2 can give rise to dilated cardiomyopathy, supporting the idea that defects of dystrophin, or of associated proteins, can cause dilated cardiomyopathy in addition to muscular dystrophy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Biopsy
  • Cardiomyopathy, Dilated / diagnostic imaging
  • Cardiomyopathy, Dilated / etiology*
  • Cardiomyopathy, Dilated / metabolism
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Echocardiography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Laminin / deficiency*
  • Male
  • Muscles / metabolism
  • Muscular Dystrophies / complications*
  • Muscular Dystrophies / diagnostic imaging
  • Muscular Dystrophies / metabolism
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / diagnostic imaging
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / etiology*
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / metabolism


  • Laminin