The purpose of this study was to use proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy to assess intramuscular lipid and metabolites of lower leg muscles in boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and determine its relationship with strength and functional ability. Spectroscopic measurements were obtained from four muscles of the lower leg in 25 boys with DMD (9.2±3.1 years) and 10 healthy boys (10.2±2.6 years). Lipid fractions and metabolite concentrations were also determined. Muscle strength, a timed functional test, and the Modified Brooke Lower Extremity Functional Scale were also determined. Lipid fractions were higher (p<0.01) for the DMD group than healthy subjects for all muscles, and lipid fraction was found to be greater in the older DMD boys. The peroneal muscle demonstrated a significant difference in lipid fraction in all DMD age groups. Lipid fractions in all muscles correlated with functional measures (r=0.52-0.70, p<0.001), with smaller inverse correlations with the strength measure (r=-0.36 to -0.56, p<0.05). These findings provide quantifiable information regarding intramuscular lipid and metabolite levels of different muscles across various age groups in boys with DMD and may be used in determining the effect of interventions in future clinical trials.
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