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Exp Neurol. 2008 Aug;212(2):242-6. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2008.04.020. Epub 2008 Apr 26.

Commentary: Dopaminergic dysfunction in DYT1 dystonia.

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Department of Neurology/School of Medicine and Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, 954 Gatewood Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30329, USA.


A three-base-pair deletion in the torsinA gene leads to generalized torsion dystonia (DYT1) in humans, an often devastating movement disorder in which voluntary movements are disrupted by sustained muscle spasms and abnormal limb posturing. In a recent issue of Experimental Neurology, Zhao et al. (2008) have provided a thorough behavioral, anatomic, and biochemical characterization of a mouse line that over-expresses human mutant torsinA, with particular emphasis on the possible role of dopaminergic dysfunction in these animals. This commentary provides an overview of the clinical and genetic features of the human disease and of the available transgenic mouse models for DYT1 dystonia, and discusses the evidence favoring the role of dopamine in the clinical manifestations of the disease.

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