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July 1975

Failure to Confirm a Vascular Cause of Muscular Dystrophy

Author Affiliations

From the Muscular Dystrophy Research Laboratories, Newcastle General Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

Arch Neurol. 1975;32(7):466-473. doi:10.1001/archneur.1975.00490490070007

The vascular hypothesis of the cause of muscular dystrophy suggests that ischemia is responsible for the muscle fiber necrosis. A xenon 133 clearance study of muscle blood flow in Duchenne and other muscular dystrophies showed no obvious difference between the response to exercise and arterial occlusion compared with control subjects. Radioautographic study of distribution of 4-125l-antipyrine in skeletal muscle of mice with muscular dystrophy showed no abnormal areas of ischemia.

A statistical examination was also made of the grouping of damaged fibers, one of the observations on which the vascular hypothesis was based. Only 0.9% of fibers undergoing phagocytosis occurred in groups of four or more fibers in greater frequency than would have been expected by chance, and 70% of such fibers were isolated. These studies argue strongly against the vascular hypothesis of the cause of muscular dystrophy.

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