U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

GTR Home > Conditions/Phenotypes > Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy 1


Excerpted from the GeneReview: Collagen VI-Related Dystrophies
Collagen VI-related dystrophies (COL6-RDs) represent a continuum of overlapping clinical phenotypes with Bethlem muscular dystrophy at the milder end, Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy (UCMD) at the more severe end, and a phenotype in between UCMD and Bethlem muscular dystrophy, referred to as intermediate COL6-RD. Bethlem muscular dystrophy is characterized by a combination of proximal muscle weakness and joint contractures. Hypotonia and delayed motor milestones occur in early childhood; mild hypotonia and weakness may be present congenitally. By adulthood, there is evidence of proximal weakness and contractures of the elbows, Achilles tendons, and long finger flexors. The progression of weakness is slow, and more than two thirds of affected individuals older than age 50 years remain independently ambulatory indoors, while relying on supportive means for mobility outdoors. Respiratory involvement is not a consistent feature. UCMD is characterized by congenital weakness, hypotonia, proximal joint contractures, and striking hyperlaxity of distal joints. Decreased fetal movements are frequently reported. Some affected children acquire the ability to walk independently; however, progression of the disease results in a loss of ambulation by age ten to eleven years. Early and severe respiratory insufficiency occurs in all individuals, resulting in the need for nocturnal noninvasive ventilation (NIV) in the form of bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) by age 11 years. Intermediate COL6-RD is characterized by independent ambulation past age 11 years and respiratory insufficiency that is later in onset than in UCMD and results in the need for NIV in the form of BiPAP by the late teens to early 20s. In contrast to individuals with Bethlem muscular dystrophy, those with intermediate COL6-RD typically do not achieve the ability to run, jump, or climb stairs without use of a railing.

Genes See tests for all associated and related genes

  • Also known as: BTHLM1, BTHLM1A, OPLL, UCHMD1, UCHMD1A, COL6A1
    Summary: collagen type VI alpha 1 chain

Clinical features


Show allHide all

IMPORTANT NOTE: NIH does not independently verify information submitted to the GTR; it relies on submitters to provide information that is accurate and not misleading. NIH makes no endorsements of tests or laboratories listed in the GTR. GTR is not a substitute for medical advice. Patients and consumers with specific questions about a genetic test should contact a health care provider or a genetics professional.