Protein in damaged tissue could be biomarker for muscular dystrophy

Muscle can be damaged any number of ways, from physical trauma such as injury or exercise or diseases like muscular dystrophy. And researchers at McMaster University in Canada have found that any of these types of damage can be detected by measuring the biomarker protein Xin.

In patients with healthy muscle tissue, Xin is undetectable, according to a study to be published in the American Journal of Pathology in December. But Xin starts to show up when there is muscle damage, the study shows, and to the degree that the damage occurs.

"Our results highlight the protein called Xin as a muscle damage biomarker," lead researcher Thomas Hawke said. "Regardless of the way in which muscle was damaged, either through trauma or disease, Xin was strongly correlated to the degree of damage."

Xin is known to be a binding protein specific to muscle tissue, but its main role is not as well understood. Similar studies have shown that it is produced at a higher rate during muscle regeneration and that it may be involved in the regulation of that process.

As a biomarker for muscular dystrophy in particular, however, it could play a role in diagnosing the debilitating disease and finding valid treatment targets.

- here's the university report

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