Objective We sought to understand the alteration in the anisotropic, or direction dependent, character of muscle as measured by electrical impedance myography (EIM) in subjects with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and its potential to serve as a biomarker of disease status. Methods Thirty-six boys with DMD and 27 healthy controls were measured with EIM, with electrical current applied both parallel and perpendicular to the major muscle fiber direction. In addition, muscle extracted from 10 mdx and 10 wild-type mice were measured analogously. Results Normalized reactance anisotropy, a direction-dependent measure of membrane charge storage capability, was significantly lower in the four muscles of DMD subjects as compared to controls (p < 0.01). Normalized reactance anisotropy also decreased with increasing age in DMD subjects (r = −0.36, p = 0.031), but not in healthy boys. Analogous changes were observed in mdx mouse gastrocnemius as compared to wild type (p = 0.019). Conclusion These results support that loss of electrical anisotropy is a previously unrecognized feature of dystrophic muscle. Significance Anisotropic alterations may offer novel indices to assist in neuromuscular disease diagnosis and to serve as easy-to-obtain biomarkers in clinical therapeutic trials.
- Duchenne muscular dystrophy