Although Duchenne muscular dystrophy is primarily categorised as a skeletal muscle disease, deficiency in the membrane cytoskeletal protein dystrophin also affects the heart. The central transsarcolemmal linker between the actin membrane cytoskeleton and the extracellular matrix is represented by the dystrophin-associated dystroglycans. Chemical cross-linking analysis revealed no significant differences in the dimeric status of the α-/β-dystroglycan subcomplex in the dystrophic mdx heart as compared to normal cardiac tissue. In analogy to skeletal muscle fibres, heart muscle also exhibited a greatly reduced abundance of both dystroglycans in dystrophin-deficient cells. Immunoblotting demonstrated that the degree of reduction in α-dystroglycan is more pronounced in matured mdx skeletal muscle as contrasted to the mdx heart. The fact that the deficiency in dystrophin triggers a similar pathobiochemical response in both types of muscle suggests that the cardiomyopathic complications observed in x-linked muscular dystrophy might be initiated by the loss of the dystrophin-associated surface glycoprotein complex.