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Treatment for heart damage in muscular dystrophy may be possible

Common chemical used in manufacturing industries may be able to repair heart damages// and prevent heart failures of people suffering from muscular dystrophy.

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is one of the more common forms of muscular dystrophies that are characterized by muscle enlargement and rapid degeneration of muscles in early life. This disease is linked with the X-chromosomes and thus affects male population. Mostly incurable, this disease causes congenital heart problems in boys. It is estimated that 1 in 3000 to 3500 boys suffer from the disease of Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Researchers from University of Michigan Medical School had been able to use a chemical sealant called poloxamer 188 to protect hearts in mice with damage to the cardiac muscle cell membranes from the slow weakening of the heart muscles.

The study is the first one to show what happens to the muscles in the heart called myocytes. The study also for the first time shows how the chemical sealant can be used to prevent heart failures in mice with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

In their studies the researchers have demonstrated that the sealant helps the heart to be more compliant in the phase of relaxation and thus prevents heart failure in mice.

Reference: Nature, online edition, July 2005

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