Inherited cardiomyopathies may arise from mutations in genes that are normally expressed in both heart and skeletal muscle and therefore may be accompanied by skeletal muscle weakness. Phenotypically, patients with familial dilated cardiomyopathy (FDC) show enlargement of all four chambers of the heart and develop symptoms of congestive heart failure. Inherited cardiomyopathies may also be accompanied by cardiac conduction-system defects that affect the atrioventricular node, resulting in bradycardia. Several different chromosomal regions have been linked with the development of autosomal dominant FDC, but the gene defects in these disorders remain unknown. We now characterize an autosomal dominant disorder involving dilated cardiomyopathy, cardiac conduction-system disease, and adult-onset limb- girdle muscular dystrophy (FDC, conduction disease, and myopathy [FDC-CDM]). Genetic linkage was used to exclude regions of the genome known to be linked to dilated cardiomyopathy and muscular dystrophy phenotypes and to confirm genetic heterogeneity of these disorders. A genomewide scan identified a region on the long arm of chromosome 6 that is significantly associated with the presence of myopathy (D6S262; maximum LOD score [Z(max)] 4.99 at maximum recombination fraction [Θ(max)].00), identifying FDC-CDM as a genetically distinct disease. Haplotype analysis refined the interval containing the genetic defect, to a 3-cM interval between D6S1705 and D6S1656. This haplotype analysis excludes a number of striated muscle-expressed genes present in this region, including laminin α2, laminin α4, triadin, and phospholamban.
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