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Characterisation of dystrophin in fetuses at risk for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Clerk, A., Sewry, C. A., Dubowitz, V. and Strong, P. N. (1992) Characterisation of dystrophin in fetuses at risk for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Journal of Neurological Sciences, 111 (1). pp. 82-91. ISSN 0022-510X

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Dystrophin, the product of the Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) gene, was studied in muscle from 16 human fetuses at risk for the disease. Eleven high risk (greater than 95% probability) and 5 low-risk (less than 25% probability) fetuses were studied with antibodies raised to different regions of the protein. All low-risk fetuses showed a similar pattern to that of normal fetuses of a comparable age: using Western blot analysis, a protein was detected of similar size and abundance to that of normal fetuses (i.e. smaller molecular weight than that of adult muscle); immunocytochemistry showed uniform sarcolemmal staining in fetuses older than 18 weeks gestation and differential staining of myotubes at different stages of development (distinguished by size) in younger fetuses (less than 15 weeks gestation). In contrast, Western blot analysis of high-risk fetuses detected low levels of dystrophin in 4 cases; 7 fetuses had no detectable protein. Immunocytochemistry with some dystrophin antibodies showed weak staining of the sarcolemma and around central nuclei in younger fetuses; in older fetuses there was little sarcolemmal staining with any antibody other than occasional positive fibres. These results indicate that careful study of dystrophin in fetuses at risk for DMD can be used to establish the clinical phenotype and provide additional information for future family counselling.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Biomedical Sciences
ID Code:50475

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