Novel discovery could help in early identification of muscular dystrophy

June 17th, 2009 - 4:38 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, June 17 (ANI): In a novel study, British scientists have traced the origin of two of the most common and potentially fatal muscular dystrophy to its prenatal roots.

The research team from University of Birmingham studied the key proteins involved in two types of muscular dystrophy (MD): the most severe MD form, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), and a more mild form, Limb Girdle MD (LGMD-1c) in the mouse model.

The study showed prenatal signs for muscular dystrophy, and suggests that both types of MD might be detected in utero or shortly after birth.

They found disrupted stem cell function and delays of skeletal muscle formation in embryos of MD-like mice.

The severity of these embryonic abnormalities closely matches up with the severity of symptoms seen in DMD or Limb Girdle MD.

Researchers said that the findings could help in early identification of muscular dystrophy and provide better quality of life to the sufferers.

DMD is more commonly found in boys, at a rate of 1 in 3500. It causes progressive weakness in the skeletal muscles, and most children require a wheelchair by age 11. DMD later results in respiratory muscle and heart muscle failure.

This eventually leads to death sometime between the teenage years and early 30s, largely depending on the age that treatment is started.

While untreated children die around 17-18 years of age, children who are treated early live longer.

The study appears in Disease Models & Mechanisms (DMM). (ANI)

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