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Isolated hyperCKemia


Isolated hyperCKemia is a condition characterized by elevated levels of an enzyme called creatine kinase in the blood. In affected individuals, levels of this enzyme are typically 3 to 10 times higher than normal. While elevated creatine kinase often accompanies various muscle diseases, individuals with isolated hyperCKemia have no muscle weakness or other symptoms. Some people with this condition have abnormalities of muscle cells that can be seen with a microscope, such as unusual variability in the size of muscle fibers, but these changes do not affect the function of the muscle.


The prevalence of isolated hyperCKemia is unknown. Because the condition has no symptoms, it is likely that some cases never come to medical attention.


Isolated hyperCKemia is one of a group of conditions called caveolinopathies, which are caused by mutations in the CAV3 gene. The CAV3 gene provides instructions for making a protein called caveolin-3, which is found in the membrane surrounding muscle cells. This protein is the main component of caveolae, which are small pouches in the muscle cell membrane. Within the caveolae, the caveolin-3 protein acts as a scaffold to organize other molecules that are important for cell signaling and maintenance of the cell structure.

CAV3 gene mutations result in a shortage of caveolin-3 protein in the muscle cell membrane and a reduction in the number of caveolae. Researchers suggest that a shortage of caveolae impairs the structural integrity of muscle cells, interferes with cell signaling, and causes the self-destruction of cells (apoptosis). Creatine kinase is released when muscle cells are broken down. Although no muscle weakness occurs in isolated hyperCKemia, destruction of some muscle cells may lead to the elevated blood levels of creatine kinase that characterize this condition.

In addition to isolated hyperCKemia, CAV3 gene mutations can cause other caveolinopathies including CAV3-related distal myopathy, limb-girdle muscular dystrophy, rippling muscle disease, and a heart disorder called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Several CAV3 gene mutations have been found to cause different caveolinopathies in different individuals. It is unclear why a single CAV3 gene mutation may cause different patterns of signs and symptoms, even within the same family.


This condition is inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern, which means one copy of the altered gene in each cell is sufficient to cause the disorder. In most cases, an affected person has one parent with isolated hyperCKemia or another caveolinopathy. Rare cases result from new mutations in the gene and occur in people with no history of caveolinopathies in their family.

Other Names for This Condition

  • Elevated serum CPK
  • Elevated serum creatine phosphokinase
  • H-CK
  • Idiopathic hyperCKemia
  • Idiopathic persistent elevation of serum creatine kinase

Additional Information & Resources

Genetic Testing Information

Patient Support and Advocacy Resources

Catalog of Genes and Diseases from OMIM

Scientific Articles on PubMed


  • Aboumousa A, Hoogendijk J, Charlton R, Barresi R, Herrmann R, Voit T, Hudson J, Roberts M, Hilton-Jones D, Eagle M, Bushby K, Straub V. Caveolinopathy--new mutations and additional symptoms. Neuromuscul Disord. 2008 Jul;18(7):572-8. doi: 10.1016/j.nmd.2008.05.003. Epub 2008 Jun 25. Citation on PubMed
  • Alias L, Gallano P, Moreno D, Pujol R, Martinez-Matos JA, Baiget M, Ferrer I, Olive M. A novel mutation in the caveolin-3 gene causing familial isolated hyperCKaemia. Neuromuscul Disord. 2004 May;14(5):321-4. doi: 10.1016/j.nmd.2004.01.006. Citation on PubMed
  • Carbone I, Bruno C, Sotgia F, Bado M, Broda P, Masetti E, Panella A, Zara F, Bricarelli FD, Cordone G, Lisanti MP, Minetti C. Mutation in the CAV3 gene causes partial caveolin-3 deficiency and hyperCKemia. Neurology. 2000 Mar 28;54(6):1373-6. doi: 10.1212/wnl.54.6.1373. Citation on PubMed
  • Gazzerro E, Bonetto A, Minetti C. Caveolinopathies: translational implications of caveolin-3 in skeletal and cardiac muscle disorders. Handb Clin Neurol. 2011;101:135-42. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-08-045031-5.00010-4. Citation on PubMed
  • Gazzerro E, Sotgia F, Bruno C, Lisanti MP, Minetti C. Caveolinopathies: from the biology of caveolin-3 to human diseases. Eur J Hum Genet. 2010 Feb;18(2):137-45. doi: 10.1038/ejhg.2009.103. Epub 2009 Jul 8. Erratum In: Eur J Hum Genet. 2009 Dec;17(12):1692. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • Woodman SE, Sotgia F, Galbiati F, Minetti C, Lisanti MP. Caveolinopathies: mutations in caveolin-3 cause four distinct autosomal dominant muscle diseases. Neurology. 2004 Feb 24;62(4):538-43. doi: 10.1212/wnl.62.4.538. Citation on PubMed

The information on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health.