A novel late-onset axial myopathy associated with mutations in the skeletal muscle ryanodine receptor (RYR1) gene


Mutations in the skeletal muscle ryanodine receptor (RYR1) gene are a common cause of inherited neuromuscular disorders and have been associated with a wide clinical spectrum, ranging from various congenital myopathies to the malignant hyperthermia susceptibility (MHS) trait without any associated weakness. RYR1-related myopathies are usually of early-childhood onset. Here we present 11 patients from 8 families with a late-onset axial myopathy associated with RYR1 variants. Patients presented between the third and seventh decade of life to neuromuscular centres in Norway, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom with predominant axial muscle involvement, comprising variable degrees of lumbar hyperlordosis, scapular winging and/or camptocormia. Marked myalgia was commonly associated. Serum creatine kinase levels were normal or moderately elevated. Muscle imaging showed consistent involvement of the lower paravertebral muscles and the posterior thigh. Muscle biopsy findings were often discrete, featuring variability in fibre size, increased internal nuclei and unevenness of oxidative enzyme staining, but only rarely overt cores. RYR1 sequencing revealed heterozygous missense variants, either previously associated with the MHS trait or localizing to known MHS mutational hotspots. These findings indicate that MHS-related RYR1 mutations may present later in life with prominent axial weakness but not always typical histopathological features. We propose a combined effect of RyR1 dysfunction, aging and particular vulnerability of axial muscle groups as a possible pathogenic mechanism. RYR1 is a candidate for cases with “idiopathic” camptocormia or bent spine syndrome (BSS).

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The authors wish to thank all participating families. Family members gave consent to the publication of their photographs and information. Support from the National Commissioning Group (NCG) of the United Kingdom to the Dubowitz Neuromuscular Centre and Guy’s Hospital is gratefully acknowledged. We would like to thank Dr Mark Davis, Perth, Western Australia, for constructive discussions and critically reading our manuscript.

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The authors do have no conflict of interest to declare.

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Correspondence to Heinz Jungbluth.

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S. Løseth and N. C. Voermans contributed equally.

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Løseth, S., Voermans, N.C., Torbergsen, T. et al. A novel late-onset axial myopathy associated with mutations in the skeletal muscle ryanodine receptor (RYR1) gene. J Neurol 260, 1504–1510 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00415-012-6817-7

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  • Skeletal muscle ryanodine receptor (RYR1) gene
  • RYR1 mutations
  • Malignant hyperthermia susceptibility (MHS)
  • Axial myopathy
  • Camptocormia