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Muscle pathology, dystrophin expression and X-inactivation patterns were studied in the muscle of five asymptomatic females heterozygous for deletions in the dystrophin gene (non-manifesting carriers) and five symptomatic carriers (manifesting carriers). Muscle from the non-manifesting carriers showed an increase in the population of centrally nucleated fibres (9.0 +/- 2.8%; controls, 1.4 +/- 0.3%), frequent fibers with abnormally interrupted dystrophin staining (38 +/- 5%), and, in sections from three individuals, small numbers of dystrophin-negative fibers (1-4%). The amount of dystrophin measured by immunoblotting was reduced to 64 +/- 5% (P < 0.001 n = 5) of normal. The pattern of X-inactivation in muscle DNA was non-biased (50: 50-60: 40) in all cases. In the manifesting carriers both highly biased (90: 10) and non-biased patterns of X-inactivation were found, but no consistent relationship was apparent between the patterns of X-inactivation and the proportions of dystrophin-negative fibers. We conclude from studies of the non-manifesting carriers that the proportion of residual dystrophin is similar to the relative activation in muscle of the X-chromosome carrying the wild-type allele. Extreme bias of X-inactivation can be associated with early clinical symptoms and severe pathology. However, as non-manifesting and some manifesting adult carriers had identical patterns of X-inactivation, abnormalities in the distribution of dystrophin, as well as overall levels of expression, may be important for the development of myopathic pathology.

Type

Journal article

Journal

Neuromuscul Disord

Publication Date

05/1995

Volume

5

Pages

209 - 220

Keywords

Adolescent, Adult, Biopsy, Blotting, Western, Child, Child, Preschool, Creatine Kinase, Dosage Compensation, Genetic, Dystrophin, Female, Heterozygote, Humans, Middle Aged, Muscles, Muscular Dystrophies, X Chromosome