Central core disease is one of the inherited myopathies, a group of diseases that causes problems with the tone and contraction of skeletal muscles. The disease is named for damaged areas within muscle cells (the "cores"), where the filament proteins are disorganized and mitochondria (the tiny energy-producing factories that power muscle contraction) are missing. The impact of these "cores" on disease severity is still unclear.
CCD causes poor muscle tone (hypotonia) and persistent muscle weakness in infants. In rare cases, toddlers with the disease fail to walk at all, but usually they’re just late in reaching motor milestones.
Older children and adults typically experience mild disabilities that worsen slowly with time, if at all. Due to chronic muscle weakness, many people develop skeletal deformities, including joint dislocations and scoliosis, or curvature of the spine that can compress vital internal organs.
People with this disease should be cautious about surgery because they face an especially high risk of malignant hyperthermia, a potentially fatal reaction to certain anesthetic drugs (See the Medical Management section).
Central core disease appears to have multiple origins, but it’s commonly caused by defects in a channel that acts like a gate to internal calcium stores. The defect causes leakage of calcium from the stores, which appears to damage muscle cells.
It is autosomal dominant, meaning it is produced by a defective gene contributed by one parent. In rare cases, it can be autosomal recessive, or produced by defective genes contributed by both parents. See Causes/Inheritance.
CCD is congenital, meaning its onset is at or near birth. It progresses slowly, if at all.
MDA-supported researchers have identified numerous genetic mutations that can result in CCD and in malignant hyperthermia susceptibility. Using animal models, researchers are investigating how these genetic mutations cause the formless "cores" that characterize this disease. For more, see Research.
To read more about central core disease, please see the Spring 2010 report In Focus: Central Core Disease.