The prion protein (PrP) level in muscle has been reported to be elevated in patients with inclusion-body myositis, polymyositis, dermatomyositis, and neurogenic muscle atrophy, but it is not clear whether the elevated PrP accumulation in the muscles is sufficient to cause muscle diseases. We have generated transgenic mice with muscle-specific expression of PrP under extremely tight regulation by doxycycline, and we have demonstrated that doxycycline-induced overexpression of PrP strictly limited to muscles leads to a myopathy characterized by increased variation of myofiber size, centrally located nuclei, and endomysial fibrosis, in the absence of intracytoplasmic inclusions, rimmed vacuoles, or any evidence of a neurogenic disorder. The PrP-induced myopathy correlates with accumulation of an N-terminal truncated PrP fragment in the muscle, and the muscular PrP displayed consistent mild resistance to protease digestion. Our findings indicate that overexpression of wild-type PrP in skeletal muscles is sufficient to cause a primary myopathy with no signs of peripheral neuropathy, possibly due to accumulation of a cytotoxic truncated form of PrP and/or PrP aggregation. © 2007 by The National Academy of Sciences of the USA.