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Duchenne muscular dystrophy

Other Names for this Disease
  • DMD
  • Muscular dystrophy, Duchenne
  • Muscular dystrophy, pseudohypertrophic progressive, Duchenne type
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Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a rapidly progressive form of muscular dystrophy that occurs primarily in boys. It is caused by a mutation in a gene, called the DMD gene, which encodes the muscle protein dystrophin. Boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy do not make the dystrophin protein in their muscles. Duchenne mucular dystrophy is inherited in an X-linked recessive fashion; however, it may also occur in people from families without a known family history of the condition. Individuals who have DMD have progressive loss of muscle function and weakness, which begins in the lower limbs.[1] In addition to the skeletal muscles used for movement, DMD may also affect the muscles of the heart.[2]  There is no known cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Treatment is aimed at control of symptoms to maximize the quality of life.[3]

Last updated: 1/8/2009


  1. Learning About Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). April 18, 2013; Accessed 11/4/2013.
  2. Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy. Genetics Home Reference (GHR). 2007; Accessed 10/6/2010.
  3. Kaneshiro NK. Duchenne muscular dystrophy. MedlinePlus. February 1, 2012; Accessed 11/4/2013.
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Basic Information

  • Genetics Home Reference (GHR) contains information on Duchenne muscular dystrophy. This website is maintained by the National Library of Medicine.
  • MedlinePlus was designed by the National Library of Medicine to help you research your health questions, and it provides more information about this topic.
  • The National Human Genome Research Institute's (NHGRI) mission encompasses a broad range of studies aimed at understanding the structure and function of the human genome and its role in health and disease. Click on the link to view the information page on this topic.
  • The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) is a federation of more than 130 nonprofit voluntary health organizations serving people with rare disorders. Click on the link to view information on this topic.

In Depth Information

  • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. Click on the link to view this information. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
  • The Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is an catalog of human genes and genetic disorders. Each entry has a summary of related medical articles. It is meant for health care professionals and researchers. OMIM is maintained by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 
  • Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs.  Access to this database is free of charge.
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.

Resources for Kids

  • BrainPOP presents the topic of Duchenne muscular dystrophy in a short, animated movie that is available on CheckOrphan's Web site.  BrainPOP produced this video in partnership with Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, this four minute video strives to provide kids of all ages with a clear understanding of Duchenne.