Red blood cell alterations in muscular dystrophy: The role of lipids
Biochemical, morphologic, and biophysical studies support the concept that the red blood cell (RBC) membrane is altered in both myotonic muscular dystrophy (MyD) and Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). These studies have not identified a primary metabolic defect that would explain the various alterations of membrane properties. Since the lipid milieu of the membrane affects most membrane properties, it has been extensively investigated in MyD and DMD. Although some studies have suggested specific lipid abnormalities, no reproducible alterations have been reported in the major lipid constituents of the RBC membrane in these disorders. These findings suggest that major alterations of the predominant membrane lipids are not involved in these diseases. Furthermore, studies of the RBC membrane do not provide definitive statements as to the inborn error of metabolism, whether proteins or lipid constituents are primarily affected, or even whether the described alterations are intrinsic to the membrane or are secondary to some circulating factors. Nevertheless, RBCs have proved useful in demonstrating the involvement of the plasma membrane in muscle disorders and should be important in defining how such membrane perturbations affect transport mechanisms.