Schmitt, H.-P.; Krause, Klaus-Henning
An autopsy study of a familial oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy (OPMD) with distal spread and neurogenic involvement.
In: Muscle & Nerve, Vol. 4, No. 4: pp. 296-305
An 81-year-old man from a family with a history of oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy (OPMD) involving 6 members over 4 generations is described. The patient first noted drooping of his eyelids at the age of 65. Dysphagia and dysarthria occurred soon thereafter. At age 78, impairment of gait developed and progressive wasting occurred in the limbs with an initial distal distribution. Electromyography of several limb muscles displayed a mixed myopathic and neurogenic pattern with giant potentials. Examination at autopsy revealed slight loss of neurons in the anterior horns of the spinal cord, with scanty ghost cells, neuronophagia, and central chromatolysis. By light microscopy the limb muscles showed moderate small-group atrophy with severe myopathy and target fibers. The viscerocranial muscles, including the ocular, vocal, and tongue muscles, demonstrated only myopathic change with the typical features of progressive muscular dystrophy. Advanced replacement by fibrous connective tissue and fat had occurred in both the viscerocranial and the lower limb muscles. The significance of neurogenic involvement in OPMD is discussed.