Identifying factors that improve gastrointestinal function in Duchenne's muscular dystrophy

Project Details

Gastrointestinal (GI) issues such as constipation, bloating, and feelings of fullness are common among patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and are associated with significant discomfort, pain and reduced quality of life. Until recently, these complaints were thought to result from patient immobility and nutritional issues associated with skeletal and cardiac muscle atrophy, but our understanding needs to take into account the fact that dystrophin is expressed in both the neural and smooth muscle tissue of the gut.

Our preliminary studies, in conjunction with previously published studies demonstrate that the mdx mouse, the most commonly studied mouse model of DMD, displays significant gastrointestinal dysfunction demonstrated by altered motor patterns in the small intestine and colon. Together these data reveal that GI dysfunction in DMD is likely due to the underlying loss of dystrophin and not simply to patient immobility and poor nutrition.

Successfully addressing these significant gastrointestinal issues will dramatically improve quality of life for patients.


Dr Kristy Swiderski, Senior Research Fellow

Professor Gordon Lynch, Head of Department


2018-2021 Duchenne Parent Project. Evaluating a sulforaphane-based nutraceutical to alleviate gastrointestinal dysfunction in DMD

Research Opportunities

This research project is available to Honours students to join as part of their thesis.
Please contact the Research Group Leader to discuss your options.

Research Group

Lynch laboratory: Basic and clinical myology

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Biomedical Neuroscience, Molecular Mechanisms of Disease

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Anatomy and Physiology

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