Printer Friendly

Biochemical clues to muscular dystrophy.

Biochemical clues to muscular dystrophy

Israeli researchers have found two different forms of a protein whose appears to trigger Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a serious muscle-wasting disease that afflicts 1 in 3,500 male children. Their finding may help scientists explain why 30 percent of males with DMD suffer mental impairment.

The protein, called dystrophin, was identified in late 1987 by a Boston research team (SN: 1/2/88, p.4) led by Louis Kunkel of Harvard Medical School. It provided evidence that a lack of dystrophin starts a cascade of events leading to the characteristic muscle weakness of the disease. DMD is an inherited disease carried by women and passed down to sons. Affected males experience progressive muscle wasting and usually die in their 20s.

Uri Nudel and his colleagues at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot looked at normal rat tissue and found one kind of dystrophin in brain cells and another type of muscle cells. Their results, presented in a Jan. 5 letter to NATURE, suggest people with DMD who show mental retardation may have trouble producing the brain type of dystrophin, comments Donald S. Wood of the Muscular Dystrophy Association in New York City. While all boys with DMD lack muscle dystrophin, scientists theorize that a deficit of this protein in the brain may lead to retardation. Researchers have yet to learn dystrophin's exact role in the brain, Woods adds.

Ultimately, the new work may help researchers develop a treatment for the disorder. Any attempt to replace dystrophin would have to target both forms of the protein, Wood say.
COPYRIGHT 1989 Science Service, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Science News
Date:Jan 14, 1989
Words:264
Previous Article:Smokeless cigarettes under fire.
Next Article:Fluoride-calcium combo builds better bones.
Topics:


Related Articles
Muscular dystrophy gene cornered.
Steroid helpful in muscular dystrophy.
Muscular dystrophy protein identified.
Steroid slackens pace of muscular dystrophy.
Gene fix for muscular dystrophy defect.
Myotonic dystrophy: a short gene at best.
Muscular dystrophy: new focus on myoblasts.
New tools for muscular dystrophy research.
BLACK-TIE AFFAIR PLANNED MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY ASSOCIATION TO HOLD FIRST LOCAL FUND-RAISER.
MECHANIC OFFERS FREE WORK TO AID MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters