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Neurology. 1997 May;48(5):1440-2.

Muscle fiber atrophy in leg muscles after botulinum toxin type A treatment of cervical dystonia.

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Department of Neurology, Karolinska Institute, Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.


Previous electrophysiologic studies on the effects of local injections of botulinum toxin type A (BTX-A) have indicated impaired neuromuscular transmission in distant muscles. To further study possible distant effects of repeated BTX-A injections, we obtained percutaneous muscle biopsies of the vastus lateralis muscle from 11 patients with cervical dystonia. We examined the biopsies with histopathology and morphometry, and compared them with age-matched healthy controls. There was an increased frequency of angular atrophic type IIB fibers in the patient group, and the mean size of IIB fibers was significantly smaller (p < 0.05). In addition, there was a negative correlation between accumulated dose of botulinum toxin and relative size of type IIA fibers (p < 0.05). We postulate that the observed atrophy is due to distant effects of botulinum toxin causing progressive denervation-like changes in non-treated muscle. This observation calls for further, prospective studies of the long-term effects of the treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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