A complex rearrangement mutation in the mouse titin gene leads to an in-frame 83-amino acid deletion in the N2A region of titin. Autosomal recessive inheritance of the titin muscular dystrophy with myositis (Ttmdm/mdm) mutation leads to a severe early-onset muscular dystrophy and premature death.We hypothesized that the N2A deletion would negatively impact the force-generating capacity and passive mechanical properties of the mdm diaphragm. We measured in vitro active isometric contractile and passive length-tension properties to assess muscle function at 2 and 6 wk of age. Micro-CT, myosin heavy chain Western blotting, and histology were used to assess diaphragm structure. Marked chest wall distortions began at 2 wk and progressively worsened until 5 wk. The percentage of myofibers with centrally located nuclei in mdm mice was significantly (P < 0.01) increased at 2 and 6 wk by 4% and 17%, respectively, compared with controls. At 6 wk, mdm diaphragm twitch stress was significantly (P < 0.01) reduced by 71%, time to peak twitch was significantly (P < 0.05) reduced by 52%, and half-relaxation time was significantly (P < 0.05) reduced by 57%. Isometric tetanic stress was significantly (P < 0.05) depressed in 2- and 6-wk mdm diaphragms by as much as 64%. Length-tension relationships of the 2-and 6-wk mdm diaphragms showed significantly (P < 0.05) decreased extensibility and increased stiffness. Slow myosin heavy chain expression was aberrantly favored in the mdm diaphragm at 6 wk. Our data strongly support early contractile and passive mechanical aberrations of the respiratory pump in mdm mice. Copyright © 2008 the American Physiological Society.