Neuropediatrics 2017; 48(04): 226-232
DOI: 10.1055/s-0037-1601859
Review Article
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart, New York

Inherited and Acquired Muscle Weakness: A Moving Target for Diagnostic Muscle Biopsy

Werner Stenzel
1  Department of Neuropathology, Charité—Universitätsmedizin, Berlin, Germany
Benedikt Schoser
2  Friedrich-Baur-Institut, Neurologische Klinik, Klinikum der Universität München, München, Germany
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

02 February 2017

08 March 2017

Publication Date:
15 April 2017 (online)


Inherited and acquired muscular weakness is caused by multiple conditions. While the inherited ones are mostly caused by mutations in genes coding for myopathic or neurogenic diseases, the acquired ones occur due to inflammatory, endocrine, or toxic etiologies. Precise diagnosis of a specific disease may be challenging and may require a multidisciplinary approach. What is the current place for a diagnostic biopsy of skeletal muscle? Diagnostic muscle biopsy lost in this context its first-tier place in the primary diagnostic workup for some diseases, but it is still mandatory for others. We here summarize conditions in which we believe a diagnostic sample is most relevant and mention those in which a biopsy may be secondary or can even be left out. We would like to stress that muscle biopsy nowadays has a new important place in description and definition of new diseases, for example, discovered by modern genetic approaches.