Associations Between Variant Repeat Interruptions and Clinical Outcomes in Myotonic Dystrophy Type 1

Stephan Wenninger (Lead / Corresponding author), Sarah A. Cumming, Kristina Gutschmidt, Kees Okkersen, Aura Cecilia Jimenez-Moreno, Ferroudja Daidj, Hanns Lochmüller, Fiona Hogarth, Hans Knoop, Guillaume Bassez, Darren G. Monckton, Baziel G. M. van Engelen, Benedikt Schoser

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Objective: To assess the association between variant repeat (VR) interruptions in patients with myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) and clinical symptoms and outcome measures after cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) intervention.

Methods: Adult patients with DM1 were recruited within the OPTIMISTIC trial (NCT02118779). Disease-related history, current clinical symptoms and comorbidities, functional assessments, and disease- and health-related questionnaires were obtained at baseline and after 5 and 10 months. After genetic analysis, we assessed the association between the presence of VR interruptions and clinical symptoms' long-term outcomes and compared the effects of CBT in patients with and without VR interruptions. Core trial outcome measures analyzed were: 6-minute walking test, DM1-Activ-C, Checklist Individual Strength Fatigue Score, Myotonic Dystrophy Health Index, McGill-Pain questionnaire, and Beck Depression inventory—fast screen. Blood samples for DNA testing were obtained at the baseline visit for determining CTG length and detection of VR interruptions.

Results: VR interruptions were detectable in 21/250 patients (8.4%)—12 were assigned to the standard-of-care group (control group) and 9 to the CBT group. Patients with VR interruptions were significantly older when the first medical problem occurred and had a significantly shorter disease duration at baseline. We found a tendency toward a milder disease severity in patients with VR interruptions, especially in ventilation status, mobility, and cardiac symptoms. Changes in clinical outcome measures after CBT were not associated with the presence of VR interruptions.

Conclusions: The presence of VR interruptions is associated with a later onset of the disease and a milder phenotype. However, based on the OPTIMISTIC trial data, the presence of VR interruptions was not associated with significant changes on outcome measures after CBT intervention.

Trial Registration Information: NCT02118779.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere572
Number of pages11
JournalNeurology Genetics
Issue number2
Early online date9 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


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