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Neuromuscul Disord. 2018 Jul;28(7):572-581. doi: 10.1016/j.nmd.2018.04.005. Epub 2018 May 2.

Female dystrophinopathy: Review of current literature.

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Department of Neurology, National Hospital Organization, Kumamoto Saishunso Hospital, Kumamoto, Japan. Electronic address:
Department of Neurology, National Hospital Organization, Akita National Hospital, Akita, Japan.
Department of Internal Medicine, National Hospital Organization, Tokushima National Hospital, Tokushima, Japan.
Department of Neurology, National Hospital Organization, Toneyama National Hospital, Osaka, Japan.
Translational Medical Center, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, Tokyo, Japan.


Skeletal muscle or cardiac symptoms are known to appear in a certain proportion of female patients carrying the dystrophin gene mutation. There is limited high-quality evidence to guide the treatment of female carriers of Duchenne muscular dystrophy/Becker muscular dystrophy (DMD/BMD). The available evidence is mainly based on expert opinions and clinical experience. To improve this situation, we reviewed 1002 reports published from 1967 to 2017 to assess the following themes: epidemiology, clinical symptoms, cardiomyopathy, burdens on parents or caregivers, pregnancy or delivery, and prognosis. We aimed to provide guidance for the provision of support, care, and education for patients, caregivers, and health care professionals. There were 271 reports before 1987, and 731 reports after 1987 when dystrophin was first recognized. In this review, we mainly selected 37 papers that were reported after 1987. In seven large research papers, the incidence of skeletal muscle damage among female carriers, including asymptomatic carriers, was reported as 2.5%-19%, and the incidence of dilated cardiomyopathy was 7.3%-16.7% for DMD and 0%-13.3% for BMD. We integrated and summarized the genetically definite manifesting carriers with skeletal muscle symptoms from 10 case series. In combined data, among 93 manifesting carriers, 16 (17.2%) presented with cardiac abnormalities. The frequency of manifesting carriers complicated by cardiomyopathy increased with age. Reports on cardiac magnetic resonance in female carriers and the burden on caregivers are increasing, whereas literatures concerning pregnancy, delivery, and prognosis in female carriers are limited. This represents a future direction for research.


Burden; Cardiomyopathy; Caregiver; Carrier; Female dystrophinopathy


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