There are several types of muscle dystrophy (MD), each causing different types of progressive weakness and skeletal muscle degeneration. Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is the most severe form of MD and results in respiratory muscle failure, cardiomyopathy and early death. DMD results from the loss of the protein dystrophin. Using mouse models of MD, Deborah Merrick and colleagues establish a key role for dystrophin in early muscle formation. They demonstrate that dystrophin and caveolin-3 (a dystrophin-associated glycoprotein complex protein) are essential for muscle fiber formation and emergent stem cell function. This work indicates that these protein changes could be early indicators of MD, allowing earlier diagnosis and treatment to enhance the quality of life for MD patients.

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