Ann Clin Transl Neurol. 2024 Feb 4. doi: 10.1002/acn3.51983. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVE: ACTN2, encoding alpha-actinin-2, is essential for cardiac and skeletal muscle sarcomeric function. ACTN2 variants are a known cause of cardiomyopathy without skeletal muscle involvement. Recently, specific dominant monoallelic variants were reported as a rare cause of core myopathy of variable clinical onset, although the pathomechanism remains to be elucidated. The possibility of a recessively inherited ACTN2-myopathy has also been proposed in a single series.
METHODS: We provide clinical, imaging, and histological characterization of a series of patients with a novel biallelic ACTN2 variant.
RESULTS: We report seven patients from five families with a recurring biallelic variant in ACTN2: c.1516A>G (p.Arg506Gly), all manifesting with a consistent phenotype of asymmetric, progressive, proximal, and distal lower extremity predominant muscle weakness. None of the patients have cardiomyopathy or respiratory insufficiency. Notably, all patients report Palestinian ethnicity, suggesting a possible founder ACTN2 variant, which was confirmed through haplotype analysis in two families. Muscle biopsies reveal an underlying myopathic process with disruption of the intermyofibrillar architecture, Type I fiber predominance and atrophy. MRI of the lower extremities demonstrate a distinct pattern of asymmetric muscle involvement with selective involvement of the hamstrings and adductors in the thigh, and anterior tibial group and soleus in the lower leg. Using an in vitro splicing assay, we show that c.1516A>G ACTN2 does not impair normal splicing.
INTERPRETATION: This series further establishes ACTN2 as a muscle disease gene, now also including variants with a recessive inheritance mode, and expands the clinical spectrum of actinopathies to adult-onset progressive muscle disease.