Muscular dystrophies are groups of inherited progressive diseases of the muscle caused by mutations of diverse genes related to normal muscle function. Although there is no current effective treatment for these devastating diseases, various molecular strategies have been developed to restore the expressions of the associated defective proteins. In preclinical animal models, both viral and nonviral vectors have been shown to deliver recombinant versions of defective genes. Antisense oligonucleotides have been shown to modify the splicing mechanism of mesenger ribonucleic acid to produce an internally deleted but partially functional dystrophin in an experimental model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. In addition, chemicals can induce readthrough of the premature stop codon in nonsense mutations of the dystrophin gene. On the basis of these preclinical data, several experimental clinical trials are underway that aim to demonstrate efficacy in treating these devastating diseases. J Clin Neurol 2010;6:111-116 Key Wordszz�gene therapy, muscular dystrophies, Duchenne
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