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Skeletal muscle morphology, protein synthesis, and gene expression in Ehlers-Danlos syndrome

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Patients with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) are known to have genetically impaired connective tissue and skeletal muscle symptoms in form of pain, fatigue, and cramps; however earlier studies have not been able to link these symptoms to morphological muscle changes. We obtained skeletal muscle biopsies in patients with classic EDS [cEDS; n = 5 (Denmark)+ 8 (The Netherlands)] and vascular EDS (vEDS; n = 3) and analyzed muscle fiber morphology and content (Western blotting and muscle fiber type/area distributions) and muscle mRNA expression and protein synthesis rate (RT-PCR and stable isotope technique). The cEDS patients did not differ from healthy controls (n = 7-11) with regard to muscle fiber type/area, myosin/α-actin ratio, muscle protein synthesis rate, or mRNA expression. In contrast, the vEDS patients demonstrated higher expression of matrix proteins compared with cEDS patients (fibronectin and MMP-2). The cEDS patients had surprisingly normal muscle morphology and protein synthesis, whereas vEDS patients demonstrated higher mRNA expression for extracellular matrix remodeling in skeletal musculature compared with cEDS patients.NEW & NOTEWORTHY This study is the first of its kind to systematically investigate muscle biopsies from Ehlers-Danlos patients, focusing on muscle structure and function. These patients suffer from severe muscle symptoms, but in our study they show surprisingly normal muscle findings, which points toward indirect muscle symptoms originating from the surrounding connective tissue. These findings have basal physiological importance and implications for future physiotherapeutic treatment options for these patients.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985)
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)482-488
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017

    Research areas

  • Journal Article

ID: 52387759