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Neurotherapeutics. 2008 October; 5(4): 601–606.
Published online 2008 October 1. doi:  10.1016/j.nurt.2008.07.005
PMCID: PMC2628543
NIHMSID: NIHMS73567

Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy

Summary

Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), a dominantly inherited disorder, is the third most common dystrophy after Duchenne and myotonic muscular dystrophy. No known effective treatments exist for FSHD. The lack of an understanding of the underlying pathophysiology remains an obstacle in the development of targeted therapeutic interventions. The genetic defect is a loss of a critical number of a repetitive element (D4Z4) in the 4q subtelomeric region. The loss of the repeats results in specific changes in chromatin structure, although neither the molecular nor the cellular consequences of this change are known. Nevertheless, these epigenetic changes in chromatin structure offer a potential therapeutic target. This review discusses current management strategies in FSHD as well as potential therapeutic interventions to slow down or reverse the progressive muscle atrophy and weakness.

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