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Schreiber, Olivia; Schneiderat, Peter; Kress, Wolfram; Rautenstrauss, Bernd; Senderek, Jan; Schoser, Benedikt; Walter, Maggie C.: Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy and Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy 1A-evidence for "double trouble" overlapping syndromes. In: BMC Medical Genetics 2013, 14:92




Background: We report on a patient with genetically confirmed overlapping diagnoses of CMT1A and FSHD. This case adds to the increasing number of unique patients presenting with atypical phenotypes, particularly in FSHD. Even if a mutation in one disease gene has been found, further genetic testing might be warranted in cases with unusual clinical presentation. Case presentation: The reported 53 years old male patient suffered from walking difficulties and foot deformities first noticed at age 20. Later on, he developed scapuloperoneal and truncal muscle weakness, along with atrophy of the intrinsic hand and foot muscles, pes cavus, claw toes and a distal symmetric hypoesthesia. Motor nerve conduction velocities were reduced to 20 m/s in the upper extremities, and not educible in the lower extremities, sensory nerve conduction velocities were not attainable. Electromyography showed both, myopathic and neurogenic changes. A muscle biopsy taken from the tibialis anterior muscle showed a mild myopathy with some neurogenic findings and hypertrophic type 1 fibers. Whole-body muscle MRI revealed severe changes in the lower leg muscles, tibialis anterior and gastrocnemius muscles were highly replaced by fatty tissue. Additionally, fatty degeneration of shoulder girdle and straight back muscles, and atrophy of dorsal upper leg muscles were seen. Taken together, the presenting features suggested both, a neuropathy and a myopathy. Patient's family history suggested an autosomal dominant inheritance. Molecular testing revealed both, a hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy type 1A (HMSN1A, also called Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy 1A, CMT1A) due to a PMP22 gene duplication and facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) due to a partial deletion of the D4Z4 locus (19 kb). Conclusion: Molecular testing in hereditary neuromuscular disorders has led to the identification of an increasing number of atypical phenotypes. Nevertheless, finding the right diagnosis is crucial for the patient in order to obtain adequate medical care and appropriate genetic counseling, especially in the background of arising curative therapies.