Genetic analysis of 1051 Chinese families with Duchenne/Becker Muscular Dystrophy

Kong X, Zhong X, Liu L, Cui S, Yang Y, Kong L. Genetic analysis of 1051 Chinese families with Duchenne/Becker Muscular Dystrophy. BMC medical genetics 2019;20:139


BACKGROUND: Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is the most common muscle disease in children, and there are no effective therapies for DMD or Becker Muscular Dystrophy (BMD). Currently, targeted gene therapy treatments have emerged. As a result, genetic diagnosis is the basis of treatment. In addition, genetic and prenatal diagnosis significantly reduces their incidence rates. This study combines the application of multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification technology (MLPA) and “next-generation” sequencing technology (NGS) as the most economical and efficient method of diagnosis. Therefore, in the diagnosis of DMD/BMD, patients’ MLPA data are first used to detect DMD gene deletions or duplications, and NGS and Sanger sequencing are then applied to exclude MLPA-negative samples. Meanwhile, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is used to detect single exon deletions to exclude false-positives in MLPA caused by point mutations.

METHODS: In this study, we recruited 1051 proband families of DMD from 2016 to 2018 and had access to information that could identify individual participants during or after data collection. Patients who were diagnosed with DMD were first tested by MLPA. MLPA results with single exon deletions were validated with PCR amplification and Sanger sequencing. The negative results of MLPA were further analysed with NGS and validated by Sanger sequencing. For novel missense mutations, phenotype-genotype correlations were analysed using PolyPhen2 and mutation taster. All methods were performed in accordance with the relevant guidelines and regulations.

RESULTS: DMD mutations were identified in 1029 families (97.91%, 1029/1051). Large deletions, duplications, and small mutations accounted for 70.41% (740/1051), 8.28% (87/1051), and 19.12% (201/1051) of all cases, respectively. There were 205 small mutation types, 53 of which were novel. The rate of de novo mutations was 39.45% (187/474) and was higher in large duplications (49.53%, 157/317). Among 68 asymptomatic patients (< 3 years old) with unexplained persistent hyperCKaemia upon conventional physical examination, 63 were diagnosed as DMD/BMD according to genetic diagnosis.

CONCLUSION: Our results expand the spectrum of DMD mutations, which could contribute to the treatment of DMD/BMD and provide an effective diagnosis method. Thus, the combination of MLPA, NGS and Sanger sequencing is of great significance for family analysis, gene diagnosis and gene therapy.

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