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Mol Cell Biochem. 1999 Jan;190(1-2):143-51.

Creatine kinase, cell membrane and Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

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National Institute of Neuroscience, NCNP, Tokyo, Japan.


In 1958 Professor Setsuro Ebashi found that serum creatine kinase activity is increased in patients suffering from various muscular dystrophies, especially Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). He and others proposed that creatine kinase passes through the cell membrane as it is released from DMD muscle fibers. Since then, it has been found that dystrophin and dystrophin-associated proteins are connected to several other components, including the basal lamina and subsarcolemmal cytoskeletal networks on the cell membrane, while dystrophin anchors these dystrophin-associated proteins to the actin filaments inside the muscle cell. In DMD muscle, dystrophin has been found to be absent and dystroglycans and sarcoglycans decreased. However, how creatine kinase molecules can pass through the DMD muscle cell membrane still remains unanswered. On the basis of recent findings on the structure of the protein layers which sandwich the lipid bilayer of muscle cell membranes, this essay stresses the importance of these lipid bilayers in protecting creatine kinase release from protoplasma in normal muscle. It further indicates the possibility that the absence of dystrophin in DMD muscle during muscle contraction may result in temporal damage to the lipid bilayer.

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