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Neurology. 2011 Jan 25;76(4):346-53. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e318208811f.

Muscle histology vs MRI in Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Author information

1
The Dubowitz Neuromuscular Centre, Institute of Child Health, London, UK.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

There are currently no effective treatments to halt the muscle breakdown in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), although genetic-based clinical trials are being piloted. Most of these trials have as an endpoint the restoration of dystrophin in muscle fibers, hence requiring sufficiently well-preserved muscle of recruited patients. The choice of the muscles to be studied and the role of noninvasive methods to assess muscle preservation therefore require further evaluation.

METHODS:

We studied the degree of muscle involvement in the lower leg muscles of 34 patients with DMD >8 years, using muscle MRI. In a subgroup of 15 patients we correlated the muscle MRI findings with the histology of open extensor digitorum brevis (EDB) muscle biopsies. Muscle MRI involvement was assigned using a scale 0-4 (normal-severe).

RESULTS:

In all patients we documented a gradient of involvement of the lower leg muscles: the posterior compartment (gastrocnemius > soleus) was most severely affected; the anterior compartment (tibialis anterior/posterior, popliteus, extensor digitorum longus) least affected. Muscle MRI showed EDB involvement that correlated with the patient's age (p = 0.055). We show a correlation between the MRI and EDB histopathologic changes, with MRI 3-4 grades associated with a more severe fibro-adipose tissue replacement. The EDB was sufficiently preserved for bulk and signal intensity in 18/22 wheelchair users aged 10-16.6 years.

CONCLUSION:

This study provides a detailed correlation between muscle histology and MRI changes in DMD and demonstrates the value of this imaging technique as a reliable tool for the selection of muscles in patients recruited into clinical trials.

PMID:
21263136
PMCID:
PMC3034418
DOI:
10.1212/WNL.0b013e318208811f
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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