AbstractThere is good evidence that abnormal calcium accumulation may be a final common pathway of muscle degeneration in the muscular dystrophies. Prostaglandins are able to promote calcium entry into cells and excess prostaglandin activity coupled with a defect in intracellular calcium release could cause toxic accumulations of calcium in intracellular organelles such as mitochondria. Serotonin stimulates prostaglandin synthesis while tricyclic antidepressants inhibit calcium release from intracellular organelles thus possibly accounting for the models of muscular dystrophy reported using this combination. The prostaglandin/calcium hypothesis can account for the effects of vitamin E, steroids and local anaesthetic-like drugs in muscular dystrophy. Since many drugs already in clinical use for other purposes can be used to control prostaglandin synthesis or action this hypothesis has immediate potential clinical applications.
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