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Acta Neuropathol. 2001 Jul;102(1):89-93.

Decrease of neurons in the medullary arcuate nucleus in myotonic dystrophy.

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Department of Neurology, Teikyo University School of Medicine, Ichihara Hospital, Chiba, Japan.


Respiratory insufficiency has been reported frequently in patients with myotonic dystrophy (MyD). Recent data support the hypothesis that this respiratory failure results from a primary dysfunction of the central nervous system. The medullary arcuate nucleus (ARC) has been shown to be involved in the regulation of respiration. We performed a quantitative study of neurons in the ARC in eight MyD patients, ten control subjects with other neurological diseases (control group A) and eight control subjects without neurological diseases (control group B). Alveolar hypoventilation of the central type occurred in three of the MyD patients but not in the remaining MyD patients or controls. The density of neurons in the ARC in MyD patients with hypoventilation was significantly lower than in MyD patients without hypoventilation and control groups A and B. There was no significant difference in the neuronal density of the ARC between MyD patients without hypoventilation and control groups A and B. These data suggest that the neuronal loss of the ARC is associated with the presence of hypoventilation in MyD.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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