The immunosuppressant/antiinflammatory effects of prednisone were studied in 33 patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (ages 5 to 15 years) at the conclusion of a six month treatment trial at the Department of Neurology, Division of Neuromuscular Disease, Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus, OH. Immunohistochemical analyses were carried out on muscle biopsies: 12 from the placebo group, 9 from the low-dose prednisone group (0.75 mg/kg/d), and 12 from the high-dose group (1.5 mg/kg/d). The number of T cells and the number of muscle fibers focally invaded by T cells were significantly decreased in the prednisone treated groups compared with controls. Prednisone may improve strength in Duchenne muscular dystrophy through primarily immunologic mechanisms involving T lymphocytes. [1]

COMMENT. The possibility that clinical improvement was related to prednisone-induced alterations in skeletal muscle dystrophin was disproved by a further study from Ohio State University [2]. Dystrophin content was analyzed at the conclusion of a six month trial of prednisone, using Western blots and antibody staining of tissue sections. There was no significant differences in dystrophin content between treatment and placebo groups.