Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a severe degenerative disorder of skeletal muscle. It has been suggested that an abnormality of the plasma membrane may be responsible for the pathogenesis of DMD, and a number of cell surface changes have been described in DMD muscle fibres and other cell types. Alterations in cell-to-cell and cell-to-substratum adhesiveness have been reported for DMD cells and we have determined whether these alterations in cell adhesiveness affect migration of cells from DMD muscle explants. DMD cells move more rapidly and spend less time at rest than do normal or DMD carrier cells, although the differences were statistically significant only for the latter cells. An inverse relationship between cell speed and contact with surrounding cells was not observed. All cells tended to persist in their direction of movement, and there were no differences between the types of cells studied. Our results support the view that there may be a cell surface defect in DMD.

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