Dystrophin levels as low as 30% are sufficient to avoid muscular dystrophy in the human

Marcella Neri, Silvia Torelli, Sue Brown, Isabella Ugo, Patrizia Sabatelli, Luciano Merlini, Pietro Spitali, Paola Rimessi, Francesca Gualandi, Caroline Sewry, Alessandra Ferlini, Francesco Muntoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mutations in the dystrophin gene give rise to Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophies (DMD and BMD), in which both skeletal and cardiac muscles are affected, but also to X-linked dilated cardiomyopathy (XLDC), a condition characterised by exclusive cardiac involvement. XLDC patients with mutations at the 5′ end of the gene typically have a cardiac specific severe transcriptional pathology, with absent dystrophin in the heart, while reduced levels of virtually normal dystrophin transcript and protein are present in the skeletal muscle. We now report the identification of a new XLDC family and the detailed characterisation of the levels of dystrophin protein present in skeletal muscle of this family, and of three previously studied XLDC families. We found that dystrophin levels comprised between 29% and 57% were sufficient to avoid muscle weakness in these XLDC families. This information will be of help for the development of therapeutic approaches aimed at restoring dystrophin levels sufficient to prevent the muscle pathology in DMD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)913-918
Number of pages6
JournalNeuromuscular Disorders
Issue number11-12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007


  • Duchenne muscular dystrophy
  • Dystrophin
  • Therapy
  • X-linked dilated cardiomyopathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Neurology


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