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Ultrastructural changes in dysferlinopathy support defective membrane repair mechanism
  1. G Cenacchi1,
  2. M Fanin2,
  3. L B De Giorgi1,
  4. C Angelini2
  1. 1Clinical Department of Radiological and Histocytopathological Sciences, University of Bologna, 40138 Bologna, Italy
  2. 2Neuroscience Department, University of Padova, and Venetian Institute of Molecular Medicine, 35128 Padova, Italy
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor C Angelini
 Department of Neurosciences, University of Padova, via Giustiniani 5, 35128 Padova, Italy;


Background: The dysferlin gene has recently been shown to be involved in limb girdle muscular dystrophy type 2B and its allelic disease, Miyoshi myopathy, both of which are characterised by an active muscle degeneration and regeneration process. Dysferlin is known to play an essential role in skeletal muscle fibre repair, but the process underlying the pathogenetic mechanism of dysferlinopathy is not completely understood.

Aims: To define both specific alterations of muscle fibres and a possible sequential mechanism of myopathy development.

Methods: A histological, immunohistochemical, and ultrastructural analysis of 10 muscle biopsies from patients with molecularly diagnosed dysferlinopathy.

Results: An inflammatory response was seen in most of the muscle biopsies. The immunohistochemical pattern demonstrated active regeneration and inflammation. Non-necrotic fibres showed alterations at different submicroscopic levels, namely: the sarcolemma and basal lamina, subsarcolemmal region, and sarcoplasmic compartment. In the subsarcolemmal region there were prominent aggregations of small vesicles, probably derived from the Golgi apparatus, which consisted of empty, swollen cisternae. In the sarcolemma there were many gaps and microvilli-like projections, whereas the basal lamina was multilayered.

Conclusions: The histopathological, immunohistochemical, and ultrastructural data show that dysferlinopathy is characterised by a very active inflammatory/degenerative process, possibly associated with an inefficient repair and regenerative system. The presence of many crowded vesicles just beneath the sarcolemma provides submicroscopical proof of a defective resealing mechanism, which fails to repair the sarcolemma.

  • LGMD, limb girdle muscular dystrophy
  • MHC, major histocompatibility class
  • MM, Miyoshi myopathy

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