Thursday, April 24, 2008

Disease of Muscle - Muscular Dystrophy

For muscle to remain healthy it must be innervated by a peripheral nerve. Denervation or loss of nerve stimulation results in atrophy of the muscle or loss of muscle tissue. Muscles can also atrophy due to decreased activity. This type of atrophy is reversable with exercise.

Muscular dystrophies are a group of diseases associated with increasing muscle weakness and loss of muscle tissue. The most common form of muscular dystophy is Duchenne muscular dystophy. This disease is inherited in an x-linked recessive pattern and is caused by a defect in the gene that encodes dystrophin. This results in an absence of dystrophin.

Another formof muscular dystrophy is Becker muscular dystrophy. In this form of the disease, dystrophin is present but abnormal. This disease is also x-linked, so both forms of muscular dystrophy occur most often in males.

You can learn more about muscular dystrophy at this NIH website and at the Muscular Dystrophy Association website.

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