Blood vessels in muscle biopsy specimens from 4 Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) patients (including 3 at the preclinical stage) were examined by electron microscopy and compared with those in non-diagnostic biopsy specimens from age-matched controls and cases of other childhood neuromuscular disorders. The most striking feature was the blister-like swelling of vascular endothelial cells in the biopsied muscle specimens from the 3 preclinical stage DMD patients, which was observed in 23-39% of the small blood vessels examined. Other noticeable features in the preclinical DMD patients were: (1) replication of the basement membrane, there being more than 3 layers in 30% of the capillaries; (2) many degenerating and regenerating capillaries; and (3) platelet adhesion and aggregation in small blood vessels including small arteries and veins. Morphometric analysis showed that the capillary and endothelial cell areas were much greater in the preclinical DMD patients than in the controls or the cases of the other neuromuscular disorders. These phenomena strongly suggest an as yet undetermined process in blood vessels in preclinical DMD.