Sumi, S. Mark School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.
Bird, Thomas D. School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.
Last reviewed:January 2020
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- Duchenne's muscular dystrophy
- Myotonic dystrophy
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A group of muscle diseases that are hereditary and characterized by progressive muscle weakness and wasting. Muscular dystrophy is a collective term that describes a number of inherited diseases featuring degeneration of or injury to individual muscle cells, typically without involvement of the nerve supply. In individuals who have any of the assorted types of muscular dystrophies, there is a steady degeneration of muscle (which is replaced by fibrous tissue and fat), resulting in progressive muscle weakness. In some types of muscular dystrophies, the disease appears to be restricted to the skeletal muscles alone; this is the case for facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy and limb-girdle muscular dystrophy. In other types, skeletal-muscle involvement is a part of a more generalized process, with abnormalities in other organ systems as well; this is the case for Duchenne's muscular dystrophy and myotonic dystrophy. These features, as well as the differing patterns of inheritance (see table), indicate that the various muscular dystrophies are different diseases with different genetic and biochemical abnormalities underlying them. See also: Muscle; Muscle development and regeneration; Muscular system; Muscular system disorders
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