Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is the most common muscle disease in children. Historically, DMD results in loss of ambulation between ages 7 and 13 years and death in the teens or 20s. In order to determine whether survival has improved over the decades and whether the impact of nocturnal ventilation combined with a better management of cardiac involvement has been able to modify the pattern of survival, we reviewed the notes of 835 DMD patients followed at the Naples Centre of Cardiomyology and Medical Genetics from 1961 to 2006. Patients were divided, by decade of birth, into 3 groups: 1) DMD born between 1961 and 1970; 2) DMD born between 1971 and 1980; 3) DMD born between 1981 and 1990; each group was in turn subdivided into 15 two-year classes, from 14 to 40 years of age. Age and causes of death, type of cardiac treatment and use of a mechanical ventilator were carefully analyzed.
The percentage of survivors in the different decades was statistically compared by chi-square test and Kaplan-Meier survival curves analyses. A significant decade on decade improvement in survival rate was observed at both the age of 20, where it passed from 23.3% of patients in group 1 to 54% of patients in group 2 and to 59,8% in patients in group 3 (p < 0.001) and at the age of 25 where the survival rate passed from 13.5% of patients in group 1 to 31.6% of patients in group 2 and to 49.2% in patients in group 3 (p < 0.001).
The causes of death were both cardiac and respiratory, with a prevalence of the respiratory ones till 1980s. The overall mean age for cardiac deaths was 19.6 years (range 13.4-27.5), with an increasing age in the last 15 years. The overall mean age for respiratory deaths was 17.7 years (range 11.6-27.5) in patients without a ventilator support while increased to 27.9 years (range 23-38.6) in patients who could benefit of mechanical ventilation.
This report documents that DMD should be now considered an adulthood disease as well, and as a consequence more public health interventions are needed to support these patients and their families as they pass from childhood into adult age.
Duchenne; survival; cardiomyopathy
The heart is frequently afflicted in muscular dystrophy. In severe cases, cardiac lesion may directly result in death. Over the years, pharmacological and/or surgical interventions have been the mainstay to alleviate cardiac symptoms in muscular dystrophy patients. Although these traditional modalities remain useful, the emerging field of gene therapy has now provided an unprecedented opportunity to transform our thinking/approach in the treatment of dystrophic heart disease. In fact, the premise is already in place for genetic correction. Gene mutations have been identified and animal models are available for several types of muscular dystrophy. Most importantly, innovative strategies have been developed to effectively deliver therapeutic genes to the heart. Dystrophin-deficient Duchenne cardiomyopathy is associated with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), the most common lethal muscular dystrophy. Considering its high incidence, there has been a considerable interest and significant input in the development of Duchenne cardiomyopathy gene therapy. Using Duchenne cardiomyopathy as an example, here we illustrate the struggles and successes experienced in the burgeoning field of dystrophic heart disease gene therapy. In light of abundant and highly promising data with the adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector, we have specially emphasized on AAV-mediated gene therapy. Besides DMD, we have also discussed gene therapy for treating cardiac diseases in other muscular dystrophies such as limb-girdle muscular dystrophy.
muscular dystrophy; heart; cardiomyopathy; Duchenne muscular dystrophy; dystrophin; sarcoglycan
BACKGROUND—Respiratory failure is the commonest
cause of death in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Life
expectancy is less than one year once diurnal hypercapnia develops.
This study examines the effects of nasal intermittent positive pressure
ventilation (NIPPV) on survival in symptomatic Duchenne patients with
established ventilatory failure.
METHODS—Nocturnal NIPPV was applied in 23 consecutive patients with DMD of mean (SD) age 20.3 (3.4) years who
presented with diurnal and nocturnal hypercapnia.
RESULTS—One year and five year survival rates were
85% (95% CI 69 to 100) and 73% (95% CI 53 to 94), respectively.
Early changes in arterial blood gas tensions following NIPPV occurred
with mean (SD) PO2 increasing from 7.6 (2.1) kPa to 10.8 (1.3) kPa and mean (SD)
PCO2 falling from 10.3 (4.5) kPa to 6.1 (1.0) kPa. Improvements in arterial blood gas tensions were maintained
over five years. Health perception and social aspects of SF-36 health
related quality of life index were reported as equivalent to other
groups with non-progressive disorders using NIPPV.
CONCLUSION—Nasal ventilation is likely to increase
survival in hypercapnic patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy and
should be considered as a treatment option when ventilatory failure develops.
Diamond-Blackfan anemia and Duchenne muscular dystrophy are two rare congenital anomalies. Both anomalies occurring in the same child is extremely rare. Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is a well-established therapy for Diamond-Blackfan anemia. However, in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, stem cell therapy still remains experimental.
We report the case of a nine-year-old boy of north Indian descent with Diamond-Blackfan anemia and Duchenne muscular dystrophy who underwent successful allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. He is transfusion-independent, and his Duchenne muscular dystrophy has shown no clinical deterioration over the past 45 months. His creatine phosphokinase levels have significantly decreased to 300 U/L from 14,000 U/L pre-transplant. The patient is 100% donor chimera in the hematopoietic system, and his muscle tissue has shown 8% to 10.4% cells of donor origin.
Our patient's Diamond-Blackfan anemia was cured by allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. The interesting clinical observation of a possible benefit in Duchenne muscular dystrophy cannot be ruled out. However, further clinical follow-up with serial muscle biopsies and molecular studies are needed to establish this finding.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy usually affects males. However, females are also affected in rare instances. Approximately 8% of female Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) carriers are manifesting carriers and have muscle weakness to some extent. We investigated the clinical features of 3 female patients with dystrophinopathy diagnosed by clinical, pathological, and genetic studies at our neuromuscular disease clinic. The onset age of manifesting symptoms varied (8-28 years). Muscle weakness grade varied as follows: patient 1 showed asymmetrical bilateral proximal upper and lower extremities weakness, patient 2 showed asymmetrical bilateral upper extremities weakness similar to scapulohumoral muscular dystrophy, and patient 3 had only bilateral asymmetric proximal lower extremities weakness. Two patients had familial histories of DMD (their sons were diagnosed with DMD), but the 1 remaining patient had no familial history of DMD. The serum creatine kinase level was elevated in all patients, but it was not correlated with muscular weakness. An electromyography study showed findings of myopathy in all patients. One patient was diagnosed with a DMD carrier by a muscle biopsy with an immunohistochemical stain (dystrophin). The remaining 2 patients with familial history of DMD were diagnosed by multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA). There were inconsistent clinical features in the female carriers. An immunohistochemical analysis of dystrophin could be useful for female carrier patients. Also, multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification is essential for the diagnosis of a manifesting female carrier DMD in female myopathic patients because conventional multiplex PCR could not detect the duplication and is less accurate compared to MLPA.
Dystrophinopathy; female carrier; multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification
BACKGROUND--The effect on subsequent respiratory function of spinal stabilisation for scoliosis in Duchenne muscular dystrophy is unclear. In order to clarify this clinical problem, changes in the forced vital capacity of a group of children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy who had undergone spinal surgery were measured and compared with a group of children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy who had not had surgery. METHODS--In this retrospective study 17 boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy who underwent spinal stabilisation at a mean age of 14.9 years (surgical group) were compared with 21 boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy who had not had surgery (non-surgical group). The mean (SD) Cobb angle of the surgical group at 14.9 years was 57 (16.4) degrees, and of the non-surgical group at 15 years was 45 (29.9) degrees. Forced vital capacity expressed as percentage predicted (% FVC) was measured in total over a seven year period in the surgical group and over 6.5 years in the non-surgical group, and regression equations were calculated. Survival curves for both groups were also constructed. RESULTS--No difference was found between spinal stabilisation (surgical group) and the non-surgical group in the rate of deterioration of % FVC which was 3-5% per year. There was no difference in survival in either group. CONCLUSIONS--Spinal stabilisation in Duchenne muscular dystrophy does not alter the decline in pulmonary function, nor does it improve survival.
BACKGROUND--In order to clarify the treatment of sleep hypoxaemias in Duchenne muscular dystrophy polysomnographic studies were performed on patients at home with the purpose of recruiting them into two clinical therapeutic trials. Observations concerning the nature of sleep hypoxaemia in these patients are presented. METHODS--Twenty one non-ambulant patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy aged 13-23 years with no symptoms of sleep hypoventilation or apnoea were studied for two consecutive nights with eight channel polysomnography. A comparative study was performed in 12 age matched normal male subjects. The evolution of sleep hypoxaemia with age was studied in 14 patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. RESULTS--Thirteen of the 21 patients had hypoxaemia below 90% during sleep, and 12 of the 13 had discrete hypoxaemic dips in association with apnoeas; 60% of all apnoeas were obstructive in nature. The hypoxaemic periods became more frequent with increasing age and, in two patients at three year follow up, were more frequently associated with central or possibly "pseudocentral" apnoeas. Although the normal subjects had a few apnoeic episodes, none had sleep hypoxaemia below 90% saturation. CONCLUSION--The sleep related breathing abnormality in Duchenne muscular dystrophy is initially obstructive and this has implications for management.
The Duchenne and Becker forms of muscular dystrophy are associated with dilated cardiomyopathy and are diseases in which pulmonary function peaks, then progressively declines. In this report, we quantify cardiopulmonary function variability among brothers. Brothers in 3 of 7 eligible sibships had discordant pulmonary function, with significant differences between the brothers' peak forced vital capacities and their vital capacities at last comparable age. There was no relationship between pulmonary and cardiac function among the siblings. We concluded that despite identical genetic mutations, cardiac and pulmonary function variability was common among brothers in our clinic with Duchenne or Becker muscular dystrophy. If confirmed by larger studies, these results have negative implications for use of genetic testing to predict cardiopulmonary course and response to therapies in Duchenne or Becker muscular dystrophy.
Becker muscular dystrophy; cardiomyopathy; Duchenne muscular dystrophy; genetics; genotype; muscular dystrophy; phenotype; pulmonary function
In Duchenne muscular dystrophy, data directly linking changes in clinical outcome measures to patient-perceived well-being are lacking. Our study evaluated the relationship between clinical outcome measures used in clinical trials of ambulatory Duchenne muscular dystrophy (Vignos functional grade, quantitative knee extension strength, timed functional performance measures, and gait velocity) and 2 health-related quality of life measures — the PODCI and PedsQL™ — in 52 ambulatory Duchenne muscular dystrophy subjects and 36 controls. Those with the disease showed significant decrements in parent proxy-reported health-related quality of life measures versus controls across all domains. The PODCI transfers/basic mobility, PODCI sports/physical function, and PedsQL™ physical functioning domains had significant associations with age (and hence disease progression), and traditional clinical outcome measures employed in clinical trials of ambulatory boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Selected domains of the PODCI and generic PedsQL™ are potential patient-reported outcome measures for clinical trials in ambulatory individuals with the disease.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy; clinical outcome measures; health related quality of life; clinical trials; PODCI; PedsQL
BACKGROUND—A study was
undertaken to assess the long term physiological and clinical outcome
in 79 patients with musculoskeletal disorders (73 neuromuscular, six of
the chest wall) who received non-invasive ventilation for chronic
respiratory failure over a period of 46years.
(VC) and carbon dioxide tension (PCO2) before
and after initiation of ventilation, type and duration of ventilatory assistance, the need for tracheostomy, and mortality were
retrospectively studied in 48 patients who were managed with
mouth/nasal intermittent positive pressure ventilation (M/NIPPV) and 31 who received body ventilation. The two largest groups analysed were 45 patients with poliomyelitis and 15 with Duchenne's muscular dystrophy. Twenty five patients with poliomyelitis received body ventilation (for
a mean of 290 months) and 20 were supported by M/NIPPV (mean 38 months). All 15 patients with Duchenne's muscular dystrophy were
ventilated by NIPPV (mean 22months).
patients with poliomyelitis on body ventilation (56%) but only one on
M/NIPPV, and 10 of 15 patients (67%) with Duchenne's muscular
dystrophy eventually received tracheostomies for ventilatory support.
Five patients with other neuromuscular disorders required tracheostomies. Twenty of 29 tracheostomies (69%) were provided because of progressive disease and hypercarbia which could not be
controlled by non-invasive ventilation; the remaining nine were placed
because of bulbar dysfunction and aspiration related complications.
Nine of 10 deaths occurred in patients on body ventilation (six with
poliomyelitis), although the causes of death were varied and not
necessarily related to respiratory complications. A proportionately
greater number of patients on M/NIPPV (67%) reported positive outcomes
(improved sense of wellbeing and independence) than did those on body
ventilation (29%, p<0.01). However, other than tracheostomies and
deaths, negative outcomes in the form of machine/interface discomfort
and self-discontinuation of ventilation also occurred at a rate 2.3 times higher than in the group who received body ventilation. None of
the six patients with chest wall disorders (all on M/NIPPV) required
tracheostomy or died. Hospital admission rates increased nearly
eightfold in patients receiving body ventilation (all poliomyelitis
patients) compared with before ventilation (p<0.01) while in those
supported by M/NIPPV they were reduced by 36%.
ventilation (NIV) in the community over prolonged periods is a feasible
although variably tolerated form of management in patients with
neuromuscular disorders. While patients who received body ventilation
were followed the longest (mean 24 years), the need for tracheostomy
and deaths occurred more often in this group (most commonly in the
poliomyelitis patients). Despite a number of discomforts associated
with M/NIPPV, a larger proportion of patients experienced improved
wellbeing, independence, and ability to perform daily activities.
Clinical characteristics and complications of Duchenne muscular dystrophy caused by skeletal and cardiac muscle degeneration are well known. Gastro-intestinal involvement has also been recognised in these patients. However an acute perforated gastro-duodenal peptic ulcer has not been documented up to now.
A 26-year-old male with Duchenne muscular dystrophy with a clinical and radiographic diagnosis of acute perforated gastro-duodenal peptic ulcer is treated non-operatively with naso-gastric suction and intravenous medication. Gastrointestinal involvement in Duchenne muscular dystrophy and therapeutic considerations in a high risk patient are discussed.
Non-surgical treatment for perforated gastro-duodenal peptic ulcer should be considered in high risk patients, as is the case in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Patients must be carefully observed and operated on if non-operative treatment is unsuccessful.
Background and Objectives
In Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophies, cardiac function deteriorates with time resulting in heart failure which is often fatal. We prospectively evaluated the effect of enalapril and carvedilol on left ventricular (LV) dysfunction in middle childhood and adolescent patients with muscular dystrophy.
Subjects and Methods
Twenty-three patients with LV dysfunction (22 with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, 1 with Becker muscular dystrophy) were enrolled. We prescribed enalapril (13 patients) or carvedilol (10 patients) randomly from July 2008 to August 2010 and followed up the patients until September 2011. The changes in LV function parameters before and after the treatment were evaluated by echocardiography.
The mean age at the start of treatment with enalapril or carvedilol was 12.6±3.7 years (median 13 years), and mean follow-up duration was 20.1±8.9 months. In the enalapril group, LV fractional shortening (FS) increased from 25.8±2.1 to 26.6±3.0 (p=0.241). In the carvedilol group, LV FS increased from 26.4±1.1 to 28.6±4.2 (p=0.110). In all 23 patients, LV FS significantly increased from 26.1±1.7 (before) to 27.6±3.7 (after treatment) (p<0.046). Indexed LV dimension at end diastole and LV end-diastolic volume decreased slightly, but without statistical significance by tri-plane volumetry. LV diastolic functional parameters were maintained during follow-up period.
Enalapril or carvedilol could improve LV systolic function in middle childhood and adolescent patients with muscular dystrophy without significant adverse effects.
Cardiomyopathies; Carvedilol; Echocardiography; Enalapril; Muscular dystrophies
Idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is characterised by ventricular dilatation and impaired systolic function resulting in congestive heart failure and frequently death. A dilated cardiomyopathy is common in patients with symptomatic Duchenne/Becker muscular dystrophy, a disease caused by dystrophin gene defects. However, cardiomyopathy is rarely the predominant clinical feature of this form of muscular dystrophy. To determine whether dystrophin gene defects might account for a significant number of patients with apparently isolated idiopathic DCM, we performed dystrophin gene analysis in 27 DCM patients, who were ascertained as part of a prospective study on idiopathic DCM. No dystrophin gene defects were found in our patients, whose average age was 50 years. These data suggest that dystrophin defects are not a common cause of idiopathic DCM in this age group in the absence of skeletal muscle cramps or weakness.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy is an X-linked condition at the severe end of the spectrum of dystrophinopathies. Females with dystrophin mutations are at risk for cardiomyopathy, but are usually asymptomatic during childhood. However, some girls can exhibit features of Duchenne muscular dystrophy because of skewed X-inactivation, aneuploidy, or chromosomal rearrangement. Oculo-facio-cardio-dental syndrome is a rare X-linked disorder, lethal in males, that comprises microphthalmia, congenital cataracts, congenital heart defect, canine radiculomegaly, and digital anomalies. We report a 7-year-old girl who was referred for muscular hypotonia, with clinical features of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, including elevated serum creatine phosphokinase, pseudohypertrophy of calf muscles, and muscle weakness, which became evident at 3 years of age. In addition, she had multiple congenital anomalies including atrial septal defect, cataracts, dental and digital anomalies, a constellation that suggested the diagnosis of Oculo-Facio-Cardio-Dental syndrome, a condition caused by mutations in BCOR. Immunohistochemistry and western blot analysis of muscle, and mutation analysis of DMD showed a maternally inherited deletion of exons 30-43, confirming the diagnosis of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Studies of lymphocytes showed essentially complete skewing of X-inactivation. Mutation analysis of BCOR revealed a de novo frameshift mutation (c.1005delC). Thus, we report for the first time an individual with the co-occurrence of Duchenne muscular dystrophy and Oculo-Facio-Cardio-Dental syndrome.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy; Oculo-Facio-Cardio-Dental syndrome; X inactivation
The muscular dystrophies are a heterogeneous group of genetically caused muscle degenerative disorders. The Kunkel laboratory has had a longstanding research program into the pathogenesis and treatment of these diseases. Starting with our identification of dystrophin as the defective protein in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), we have continued our work on normal dystrophin function and how it is altered in muscular dystrophy. Our work has led to the identification of the defective genes in three forms of limb girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD) and a better understanding of how muscle degenerates in many of the different dystrophies. The identification of mutations causing human forms of dystrophy has lead to improved diagnosis for patients with the disease. We are continuing to improve the molecular diagnosis of the dystrophies and have developed a high-throughput sequencing approach for the low-cost rapid diagnosis of all known forms of dystrophy. In addition, we are continuing to work on therapies using available animal models. Currently, there are a number of mouse models of the human dystrophies, the most notable being the mdx mouse with dystrophin deficiency. These mice are being used to test possible therapies, including stem-cell-based approaches. We have been able to systemically deliver human dystrophin to these mice via the arterial circulation and convert 8% of dystrophin-deficient fibers to fibers expressing human dystrophin. We are now expanding our research to identify new forms of LGMD by analyzing zebrafish models of muscular dystrophy. Currently, we have 14 different zebrafish mutants exhibiting various phenotypes of muscular dystrophy, including muscle weakness and inactivity. One of these mutants carries a stop codon mutation in dystrophin, and we have recently identified another carrying a mutation in titin. We are currently positionally cloning the disease-causative mutation in the remaining 12 mutant strains. We hope that one of these new mutant strains of fish will have a mutation in a gene not previously implicated in human muscular dystrophy. This gene would become a candidate gene to be analyzed in patients which do not carry a mutation in any of the known dystrophy-associated genes. By studying both disease pathology and investigating potential therapies, we hope to make a positive difference in the lives of people living with muscular dystrophy.
DNA sequencing; Muscle; Muscular dystrophy; Stem cells; Zebrafish
Fatigue is a frequent complaint in muscular dystrophies but it is yet not well defined or studied. We have examined the issue of muscle fatigue in a series of molecularly defined muscular dystrophies. A greater fatigability is seen in muscular dystrophy patients and can be an acute or chronic status. In Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and beta-sarcoglycanopathy besides the alteration of dystrophin and/or sarcoglycan complex, a neuronal nitric oxide synthase depletion is frequently found and might correlate with post-exercise fatigability as well as with cardiac involvement. Therefore, it might be an important modulating factor of the severity of myopathy. In myotonic dystrophy, fatigue is a common complaint: muscle is involved and type 1 atrophy is a frequent feature; brain involvement and depressed mood might likely explain the extent of fatigue and daytime sleepiness commonly observed in these patients. Furthermore, in our observation in a series of 24 cases, muscle and brain can be independently involved in DM1 patients. These observations have profound impact on the type of physical therapy to be prescribed in such patients.
Fatigue; Duchenne dystrophy; Limb girdle dystrophy; Myotonic dystrophy; Nitric oxide synthase
The various measures used to treat the symptoms of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), i.e. medication with steroids, early operation on contractures and spine deformities as well as cardiac diagnostics and therapy, should always be accompanied by careful monitoring of the patient's respiratory status. Therapy for respiratory failure, in particular long-term ventilation, is now generally accepted as essential for DMD patients. The provision of assisted ventilation has made a decisive contribution to the quality of life for older patients and the stigma hitherto attached to it as being merely a means of keeping a patient comfortable towards the end of life has now been dispelled. Even outside the hospital, assisted ventilation has become routine. These days it is not uncommon for patients on assisted ventilation to have their life extended by 10 years or more.
Non-invasive ventilation is sufficient if used concomitantly with coughing aids. Before undergoing orthopaedic surgery the patient' s respiratory status has to be carefully assessed in order to minimize the risk of perioperative complications. Feeding and swallowing problems may develop if the patient has a scoliosis of the cervical spine region, even if he has had thoraco-lumbar spine surgery. There is still insufficient awareness of this potential problem in relation to respiratory care.
Interdisciplinary collaboration between hospitals, general practitioners, muscle and respiratory centres, as well as advocacies and self-help groups is vital. The administration of aids to support DMD patients is now facilitated by guidelines drawn up by several centres of excellence. Here we mainly describe the historic development of respiratory care at the Ulm Neuromuscular Centre.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy; respiratory failure; non-invasive ventilation; increased survival
Three patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy presenting with failure to thrive in infancy are described. Their families noted poor growth and sought medical advice up to six months before the diagnosis was suspected. Growth charts showed weight loss between 4 and 18 months of age. Length growth was affected while growth in head circumference remained unaffected. No causes of failure to thrive were found at presentation. Failure to thrive in Duchenne muscular dystrophy has been described previously but it is neither widely recognised nor understood. Poor growth in the first years and eventual short stature, however, is a well described feature of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Failure to thrive in our three patients may be an extreme manifestation of this.
We report clinical safety and biochemical efficacy from a dose-ranging study of intravenously administered AVI-4658 phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomer (PMO) in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
We undertook an open-label, phase 2, dose-escalation study (0·5, 1·0, 2·0, 4·0, 10·0, and 20·0 mg/kg bodyweight) in ambulant patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy aged 5–15 years with amenable deletions in DMD. Participants had a muscle biopsy before starting treatment and after 12 weekly intravenous infusions of AVI-4658. The primary study objective was to assess safety and tolerability of AVI-4658. The secondary objectives were pharmacokinetic properties and the ability of AVI-4658 to induce exon 51 skipping and dystrophin restoration by RT-PCR, immunohistochemistry, and immunoblotting. The study is registered, number NCT00844597.
19 patients took part in the study. AVI-4658 was well tolerated with no drug-related serious adverse events. AVI-4658 induced exon 51 skipping in all cohorts and new dystrophin protein expression in a significant dose-dependent (p=0·0203), but variable, manner in boys from cohort 3 (dose 2 mg/kg) onwards. Seven patients responded to treatment, in whom mean dystrophin fluorescence intensity increased from 8·9% (95% CI 7·1–10·6) to 16·4% (10·8–22·0) of normal control after treatment (p=0·0287). The three patients with the greatest responses to treatment had 21%, 15%, and 55% dystrophin-positive fibres after treatment and these findings were confirmed with western blot, which showed an increase after treatment of protein levels from 2% to 18%, from 0·9% to 17%, and from 0% to 7·7% of normal muscle, respectively. The dystrophin-associated proteins α-sarcoglycan and neuronal nitric oxide synthase were also restored at the sarcolemma. Analysis of the inflammatory infiltrate indicated a reduction of cytotoxic T cells in the post-treatment muscle biopsies in the two high-dose cohorts.
The safety and biochemical efficacy that we present show the potential of AVI-4658 to become a disease-modifying drug for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
UK Medical Research Council; AVI BioPharma.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a hereditary disorder characterized by progressive muscle weakness and contracture, and special care during anesthesia is needed in these patients. Because inhalational anesthetics and succinylcholine can cause fatal results, intravenous anesthetics are commonly used. However, monitorings for the pediatric population are not otherwise specified. We report our experience of a 6 year-old boy that underwent muscle biopsy suspicious of muscle dystrophy under general anesthesia. The patient received midazolam, fentanyl, propofol and a small dose of rocuronium. He was monitored with bispectral index (BIS), acceleromyography (TOF). At the end of surgery, recovery of TOF ratio to 90% was evaluated, followed by injection of pyridostigmine and glycopyrrolate. When reversal of neuromuscular block was confirmed quantitatively and clinically, the patient was extubated and he experienced no complication.
Anesthesia; Bispectral index; Monitoring; Muscular dystrophy
To study life-experiences of people living with Duchenne's muscular dystrophy (DMD), home mechanical ventilation (HMV) and physical impairment.
Since the introduction of invasive HMV in the late 1980s people with DMD in Denmark live longer and have the experience of adulthood and a high degree of physical dependency.
Nineteen patients with DMD and invasive HMV were interviewed in 2007. The interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed according to a method inspired by Ricoeur's theory of interpretation.
HMV not only extended the participants lifespan, it also gave them the capacity to live an active life. They were totally dependent in everyday living, but in spite of this, they did not see themselves as physically impaired. They realised that there were activities that were physically impossible, but they considered themselves to be just the same person they had always been. This dependency was described as “independent dependency”.
The lived-experience of physical impairment is found to be “independent dependency” in an active life. To solve problems with loneliness, society needs to work with prejudice and misunderstanding and for better physical accessibility to enable full participation.
Physical impairment; Duchenne muscular dystrophy; home mechanical ventilation; respiratory failure; Ricoeur
In 1988, we familiarised ourselves at Poitiers with the concept of operative treatment of the lower limbs and the spine in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) patients which Yves Rideau and his collaborators (1, 2) had developed there in the early 1980s. Thereupon, we immediately established the techniques at our home universities, first at the Technische Universität Aachen and, from 1999 on, at the Universitätsklinikum Erlangen, Germany. Since then, we have applied the technique to more than 500 DMD patients in total by performing more than 800 operations on the lower limbs and/or spine. In support of findings reported by Professor Rideau in this issue (3) we observed that, where patients are still ambulatory at the time of operation, the operation delays the point at which patients become wheelchair-bound by about two years. Likewise, patients receiving this treatment were/are also able to perform the Gowers' manoeuvre for around two years longer (4-6).
Duchenne muscular dystrophy; prophylactic surgery; prevention of scoliosis
Background: Long term non-invasive ventilation (NIV) reduces morbidity and mortality in patients with neuromuscular and chest wall disease with hypercapnic ventilatory failure, but preventive use has not produced benefit in normocapnic patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Individuals with nocturnal hypercapnia but daytime normocapnia were randomised to a control group or nocturnal NIV to examine whether nocturnal hypoventilation is a valid indication for NIV.
Methods: Forty eight patients with congenital neuromuscular or chest wall disease aged 7–51 years and vital capacity <50% predicted underwent overnight respiratory monitoring. Twenty six with daytime normocapnia and nocturnal hypercapnia were randomised to either nocturnal NIV or to a control group without ventilatory support. NIV was started in the control group if patients fulfilled preset safety criteria.
Results: Peak nocturnal transcutaneous carbon dioxide tension (TcCO2) did not differ between the groups, but the mean (SD) percentage of the night during which TcCO2 was >6.5 kPa decreased in the NIV group (–57.7 (26.1)%) but not in controls (–11.75 (46.1)%; p = 0.049, 95% CI –91.5 to –0.35). Mean (SD) arterial oxygen saturation increased in the NIV group (+2.97 (2.57)%) but not in controls (–1.12 (2.02)%; p = 0.024, 95% CI 0.69 to 7.5). Nine of the 10 controls failed non-intervention by fulfilling criteria to initiate NIV after a mean (SD) of 8.3 (7.3) months.
Conclusion: Patients with neuromuscular disease with nocturnal hypoventilation are likely to deteriorate with the development of daytime hypercapnia and/or progressive symptoms within 2 years and may benefit from the introduction of nocturnal NIV before daytime hypercapnia ensues.
Various prognostic serum and cellular markers have been identified for many diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases and tumor pathologies. Here we assessed whether the levels of certain stem cells may predict the progression of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).
Methods and Findings
The levels of several subpopulations of circulating stem cells expressing the CD133 antigen were determined by flow cytometry in 70 DMD patients. The correlation between the levels and clinical status was assessed by statistical analysis. The median (±SD) age of the population was 10.66±3.81 (range 3 to 20 years). The levels of CD133+CXCR4+CD34- stem cells were significantly higher in DMD patients compared to healthy controls (mean±standard deviation: 17.38±1.38 vs. 11.0±1.70; P = 0.03) with a tendency towards decreased levels in older patients. Moreover, the levels of this subpopulation of cells correlated with the clinical condition. In a subgroup of 19 DMD patients after 24 months of follow-up, increased levels of CD133+CXCR4+CD34- cells was shown to be associated with a phenotype characterised by slower disease progression. The circulating CD133+CXCR4+CD34- cells in patients from different ages did not exhibit significant differences in their myogenic and endothelial in vitro differentiation capacity.
Our results suggest that levels of CD133+CXCR4+CD34- could function as a new prognostic clinical marker for the progression of DMD.
Cloned cDNA sequences representing exons from the Duchenne/Becker muscular dystrophy (DMD/BMD) gene were used for deletion screening in a population of 287 males males affected with DMD or BMD. The clinical phenotypes of affected boys were classified into three clinical severity groups based on the age at which ambulation was lost. Boys in group 1 had DMD, losing ambulation before their 13th birthday; those in group 2 had disease of intermediate severity, losing ambulation between the ages of 13 and 16 years; and boys in group 3 had BMD, being ambulant beyond 16 years. A fourth group consisted of patients too young to be classified. Clinical group allocation was made without previous knowledge of the DNA results. A gene deletion was found in 124 cases where the clinical severity group of the affected boy was known. The extent of the deletions was delineated using cDNA probes. There were 74 different deletions. Fifty-five of these were unique to individual patients, but the other 19 were found in at least two unrelated patients. The different clinical groups showed generally similar distributions of deletions, and the number of exon bands deleted (that is, deletion size) was independent of phenotype. Some specific deletion types, however, correlated with the clinical severity of the disease. Deletion of exons containing HindIII fragments 33 and 34 and 33 to 35 were associated with BMD and were not found in patients with DMD. Deletions 3 to 7 occurred in four patients with the intermediate phenotype and one patient with BMD. Other shared deletions were associated with DMD, although in four cases patients with disease of intermediate severity apparently shared the same deletion with boys with DMD. The range of phenotypes observed, and the overlap at the genetic level between severe and intermediate and mild and intermediate forms of dystrophy, emphasizes the essential continuity of the clinical spectrum of DMD/BMD. There were no characteristic deletions found in boys with mental retardation or short stature which differed from deletions in affected boys without these features.