Understanding DMD muscle degeneration


Scientists may have answered how Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) starts to form, using mice.


DMD is a disease caused by a genetic mutation and affects one in every 5,000 boys born. Children with the condition will need a wheelchair and most will die in or before their 30s.


Now scientists at the University of Portsmouth, and Teesside University, UK, the I-STEM Intitute, France, and the United Maj Institute of Pharmacology PAS, Poland, have discovered in which cells the disease starts to form.


Previously, it was known that DMD starts in myofibers— the cells involved in contraction, which make up the bulk of any muscle. However, the scientists have found that it begins much earlier in cells destined to become muscle fibers, known as myoblasts.


"If we try to correct cells that are at the beginning of the pathological process we might be able to delay muscle degeneration and extend a patient's lifespan." , said Professor Darek Gorecki, of Portsmouth, who is author of the study.


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