Myofibers from Duchenne/Becker muscular dystrophy and myositis express the intermediate filament nestin

J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 1994 Jul;53(4):416-23. doi: 10.1097/00005072-199407000-00014.


The intermediate filament nestin is transiently expressed in developing skeletal muscle. In the present investigation, we analyzed by immunohistochemistry the presence of nestin, as well as vimentin and desmin, in skeletal muscle affected by two diseases characterized by various degrees of necrosis and muscle regeneration: Duchenne/Becker muscular dystrophy and myositis. Nestin-positive areas were found in all analyzed muscle biopsies of both diseases. The same areas were, in most cases, also positive for vimentin and stained more intensely for desmin than surrounding myofibers. Only nestin was found specifically in myopathic muscle fibers; vimentin was in addition present in muscle fibroblasts and desmin in all myofibers. The areas staining positive for nestin were typically basophilic, small-diameter myofibers, often with centrally located nuclei. With the interesting exception of a 73-year-old healthy control with abundant ring fibers, nestin was not detected in the muscle of healthy controls. The intracellular distribution of nestin in the myopathic muscle fibers, as well as in the ring fibers, was confined to the vicinity of Z-bands. The presence of nestin protein in myopathic regenerating areas and in ring fibers correlated more closely to the presence of desmin than to vimentin immunoreactivity. Our results suggest that nestin is specifically expressed in newly formed muscle fibers also during regeneration, and that nestin may serve as a useful marker of regenerating muscle fibers in pathological conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Desmin / analysis
  • Female
  • Fetus / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins / analysis*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscles / chemistry
  • Muscles / embryology
  • Muscular Dystrophies / metabolism*
  • Myositis / metabolism*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins*
  • Nestin
  • Vimentin / analysis


  • Desmin
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins
  • NES protein, human
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Nestin
  • Vimentin