Background: Neuromuscular disease is a broad term that encompasses many diseases that either directly, via an intrinsic muscle disorder, or indirectly, via a nerve disorder, impairs muscle function. Here we report the experience of our group in the counselling and molecular prenatal diagnosis of three inherited neuromuscular diseases, i.e., Duchenne/Becker muscular dystrophy (DMD/BMD), myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1), spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).
Methods: We performed a total of 83 DMD/BMD, 15 DM1 and 54 SMA prenatal diagnoses using a combination of technologies for either direct or linkage diagnosis.
Results: We identified 16, 5 and 10 affected foetuses, respectively. The improvement of analytical procedures in recent years has increased the mutation detection rate and reduced the analytical time.
Conclusions: Due to the complexity of the experimental procedures and the high, specific professional expertise required for both laboratory activities and the related counselling, these types of analyses should be preferentially performed in reference molecular diagnostic centres.