The age when boys lose the ability to walk independently is one of the milestones in the progression of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). We have used this as a measure of disease severity in a group of 30 patients with DMD and six patients with intermediate Duchenne/Becker dystrophy (D/BMD). Dystrophin analysis was performed on tissue sections and western blots of muscle biopsy specimens from these patients and the relationships that were found between clinical severity and abundance of dystrophin labelling are reported. All patients with intermediate D/BMD had dystrophin labelling that was detected on sections and blots. Weak dystrophin labelling was found in sections from 21/30 DMD cases and on blots in 18/30 cases. Two non-exclusive patterns of dystrophin labelling were observed on sections: very clear labelling on a small percentage of fibres (usually < 1%) or very weak labelling on a much higher proportion (about 25%). The mean age at loss of mobility among the DMD patients with no dystrophin labelling on tissue sections was 7.9 years (range 6.3-9.5) while the mean age among those with some labelling was 9.9 years (range 8.0-11.9); this is a significant difference. Quantitative estimates of dystrophin abundance were obtained from densitometric analysis of dystrophin bands on blots. In the whole group of 36 patients, a significant positive relationship was found between the abundance of dystrophin and the age at loss of independent mobility. It is concluded that even the very low concentrations of dystrophin found in DMD patients may have some functional significance.
Cardiomyopathy is often found in patients with Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy, which are X linked muscle diseases caused by mutations in the dystrophin gene. Dystrophin defects present in many different ways and cases of mild Becker muscular dystrophy have been described in which cardiomyopathy was severe. Female carriers of Duchenne muscular dystrophy can develop symptomatic skeletal myopathy alone or combined with dilated cardiomyopathy. They can also develop dilated cardiomyopathy alone. X linked dilated cardiomyopathy has been found in association with dystrophin defects. The relation between the molecular defects and the cardiac phenotypes has not yet been established. New mutations in the dystrophin gene are common and such mutations cause one third of the cases with Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy. This means that sporadic cases of cardiomyopathy caused by dystrophin defects are likely. This paper reports such a case in a boy of 14 who died of dilated cardiomyopathy. Before the cardiac investigation, which was performed one month before he died, he had not complained of muscular weakness. He had minor signs of limb girdle myopathy and slightly increased concentrations of serum creatine kinase. He was found to have an unusual deletion in the dystrophin gene.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a progressive and fatal disease of muscle wasting caused by loss of the cytoskeletal protein dystrophin. In the heart, DMD results in progressive cardiomyopathy and dilation of the left ventricle through mechanisms that are not fully understood. Previous reports have shown that loss of dystrophin causes sarcolemmal instability and reduced mechanical compliance of isolated cardiac myocytes. To expand upon these findings, here we have subjected the left ventricles of dystrophin-deficient mdx hearts to mechanical stretch. Unexpectedly, isolated mdx hearts showed increased left ventricular (LV) compliance compared to controls during stretch as LV volume was increased above normal end diastolic volume. During LV chamber distention, sarcomere lengths increased similarly in mdx and WT hearts despite greater excursions in volume of mdx hearts. This suggests that the mechanical properties of the intact heart cannot be modeled as a simple extrapolation of findings in single cardiac myocytes. To explain these findings, a model is proposed in which disruption of the dystrophin-glycoprotein complex perturbs cell-extracellular matrix contacts and promotes the apparent slippage of myocytes past each other during LV distension. In comparison, similar increases in LV compliance were obtained in isolated hearts from β-sarcoglycan-null and laminin-α2 mutant mice, but not in dysferlin-null mice, suggesting that increased whole-organ compliance in mdx mice is a specific effect of disrupted cell-extracellular matrix contacts and not a general consequence of cardiomyopathy via membrane defect processes. Collectively, these findings suggest a novel and cell-death independent mechanism for the progressive pathological LV dilation that occurs in DMD.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is the most common muscular dystrophy and an X-linked recessive, progressive muscle wasting disease caused by the absence of a functional dystrophin protein. Dystrophin has a structural role as a cytoskeletal stabilization protein and protects cells against contraction-induced damage. Dystrophin also serves a signaling role through mechanotransduction of forces and localization of neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS), which produces nitric oxide (NO) to facilitate vasorelaxation. In DMD, the signaling defects produce inadequate tissue perfusion caused by functional ischemia due to a diminished ability to respond to shear stress induced endothelium-dependent dilation. Additionally, the structural defects seen in DMD render myocytes with an increased susceptibility to mechanical stress. The combination of both defects is necessary to generate myocyte damage, which induces successive rounds of myofiber degeneration and regeneration, loss of calcium homeostasis, chronic inflammatory response, fibrosis, and myonecrosis. In individuals with DMD, these processes inevitably cause loss of ambulation shortly after the first decade and an abbreviated life with death in the third or fourth decade due to cardio-respiratory anomalies. There is no known cure for DMD, and although the culpable gene has been identified for more than twenty years, research on treatments has produced few clinically relevant results. Several recent studies on novel DMD therapeutics are vascular targeted and focused on attenuating the inherent functional ischemia. One approach improves vasorelaxation capacity through pharmaceutical inhibition of either phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) or angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE). Another approach increases the density of the underlying vascular network by inducing angiogenesis, and this has been accomplished through either direct delivery of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) or by downregulating the VEGF decoy-receptor type 1 (VEGFR-1 or Flt-1). The pro-angiogenic approaches also seem to be pro-myogenic and could resolve the age-related decline in satellite cell (SC) quantity seen in mdx models through expansion of the SC juxtavascular niche. Here we review these four vascular targeted treatment strategies for DMD and discuss mechanisms, proof of concept, and the potential for clinical relevance associated with each therapy.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy; VEGF; Flt-1; Flk-1; Nitric oxide; PDE5 inhibitor; ACE inhibitor; Satellite cell; Muscle regeneration; Myofiber damage
Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a fatal genetic disorder caused by dystrophin gene mutations that result in premature termination of translation and the absence of functional protein. Despite the primary dystrophin gene lesion, immunostaining studies have shown that at least 50% of DMD patients, mdx mice and a canine model of DMD have rare dystrophin-positive or 'revertant' fibres. Fine epitope mapping has shown that the majority of transcripts responsible for revertant fibres exclude multiple exons, one of which includes the dystrophin mutation.
The mdx mouse model of muscular dystrophy has a nonsense mutation in exon 23 of the dystrophin gene. We have shown that antisense oligonucleotides (AOs) can induce the removal of this exon, resulting in an in-frame mRNA transcript encoding a shortened but functional dystrophin protein. To emulate one exonic combination associated with revertant fibres, we target multiple exons for removal by the application of a group of AOs combined as a "cocktail".
Exons 19–25 were consistently excluded from the dystrophin gene transcript using a cocktail of AOs. This corresponds to an alternatively processed gene transcript that has been sporadically detected in untreated dystrophic mouse muscle, and is presumed to give rise to a revertant dystrophin isoform. The transcript and the resultant correctly localised smaller protein were confirmed by RT-PCR, immunohistochemistry and western blot analysis.
This work demonstrates the feasibility of AO cocktails to by-pass dystrophin mutation hotspots through multi-exon skipping. Multi-exon skipping could be important in expediting an exon skipping therapy to treat DMD, so that the same AO formulations may be applied to several different mutations within particular domains of the dystrophin gene.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a severe progressive muscular disorder caused by reading frame disrupting mutations in the DMD gene, preventing the synthesis of functional dystrophin. As dystrophin provides muscle fiber stability during contractions, dystrophin negative fibers are prone to exercise-induced damage. Upon exhaustion of the regenerative capacity, fibers will be replaced by fibrotic and fat tissue resulting in a progressive loss of function eventually leading to death in the early thirties. With several promising approaches for the treatment of DMD aiming at dystrophin restoration in clinical trials, there is an increasing need to determine more precisely which dystrophin levels are sufficient to restore muscle fiber integrity, protect against muscle damage and improve muscle function.
To address this we generated a new mouse model (mdx-XistΔhs) with varying, low dystrophin levels (3–47%, mean 22.7%, stdev 12.1, n = 24) due to skewed X-inactivation. Longitudinal sections revealed that within individual fibers, some nuclei did and some did not express dystrophin, resulting in a random, mosaic pattern of dystrophin expression within fibers.
Mdx-XistΔhs, mdx and wild type females underwent a 12 week functional test regime consisting of different tests to assess muscle function at base line, or after chronic treadmill running exercise. Overall, mdx-XistΔhs mice with 3–14% dystrophin outperformed mdx mice in the functional tests. Improved histopathology was observed in mice with 15–29% dystrophin and these levels also resulted in normalized expression of pro-inflammatory biomarker genes, while for other parameters >30% of dystrophin was needed. Chronic exercise clearly worsened pathology, which needed dystrophin levels >20% for protection. Based on these findings, we conclude that while even dystrophin levels below 15% can improve pathology and performance, levels of >20% are needed to fully protect muscle fibers from exercise-induced damage.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), the most common inherited neuromuscular disorder, is characterized by progressive muscle wasting and weakness. One third of Duchenne patients suffer a moderate to severe, nonprogressive form of mental retardation. Mutations in the DMD gene are thought to be responsible, with the shorter isoforms of dystrophin implicated in its molecular brain pathogenesis. It is becoming clear that region-specific variations in dystrophin isoforms delegate the composition of the dystrophin-glycoprotein complex in brain, and hence, the function of the specific membrane assembly. Here we summarize the recent advances in the understanding of brain dystrophin, dystrophin-related proteins and dystrophin-associated proteins.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a fatal disease characterized by deterioration of striated muscle, affecting skeletal and cardiac muscles. Recently, several therapeutic approaches have shown promise for repairing dystrophic skeletal muscles. However, these methods often leave the dystrophic heart untreated. Here we show that, in comparison to fully dystrophin-deficient animals, targeted transgenic repair of skeletal muscle, but not cardiac muscle, in otherwise dystrophin-deficient (mdx) mice paradoxically elicited a fivefold increase in cardiac injury and dilated cardiomyopathy in these animals in vivo. Skeletal muscle repair was shown to increase the voluntary activity of the mdx mice as quantified by voluntary running on the exercise wheel. Because the dystrophin-deficient heart is highly sensitive to increased stress, we hypothesize that increased activity (enabled by the repaired skeletal muscle) provided the stimulus for heightened cardiac injury and heart remodeling. In support of this hypothesis, the primary cellular compliance defect in dystrophin-deficient cardiac myocytes was found to be unchanged by skeletal muscle repair in the mdx mice. These findings provide new information on the evolution of cardiac disease in dystrophin-deficient animals and underscore the importance of implementing global striated muscle therapies for muscular dystrophy.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and other types of muscular dystrophies are caused by the loss or alteration of different members of the dystrophin protein complex. Understanding the molecular mechanisms by which dystrophin-associated protein abnormalities contribute to the onset of muscular dystrophy may identify new therapeutic approaches to these human disorders. By examining gene expression alterations in mouse skeletal muscle lacking α-dystrobrevin (Dtna−/−), we identified a highly significant reduction of the cholesterol trafficking protein, Niemann-Pick C1 (NPC1). Mutations in NPC1 cause a progressive neurodegenerative, lysosomal storage disorder. Transgenic expression of NPC1 in skeletal muscle ameliorates muscular dystrophy in the Dtna−/− mouse (which has a relatively mild dystrophic phenotype) and in the mdx mouse, a model for DMD. These results identify a new compensatory gene for muscular dystrophy and reveal a potential new therapeutic target for DMD.
In Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), dystrophin deficiency leading to progressive muscular degeneration is caused by frame-shifting mutations in the DMD gene. Antisense oligonucleotides (AONs) aim to restore the reading frame by skipping of a specific exon(s), thereby allowing the production of a shorter, but semifunctional protein, as is found in the mostly more mildly affected patients with Becker muscular dystrophy. AONs are currently being investigated in phase 3 placebo-controlled clinical trials. Most of the participating patients are treated symptomatically with corticosteroids (mainly predniso[lo]ne) to stabilize the muscle fibers, which might affect the uptake and/or efficiency of AONs. Therefore the effect of prednisolone on 2′-O-methyl phosphorothioate AON efficacy in patient-derived cultured muscle cells and the mdx mouse model (after local and systemic AON treatment) was assessed in this study. Both in vitro and in vivo skip efficiency and biomarker expression were comparable between saline- and prednisolone-cotreated cells and mice. After systemic exon 23-specific AON (23AON) treatment for 8 weeks, dystrophin was detectable in all treated mice. Western blot analyses indicated slightly higher dystrophin levels in prednisolone-treated mice, which might be explained by better muscle condition and consequently more target dystrophin pre-mRNA. In addition, fibrotic and regeneration biomarkers were normalized to some extent in prednisolone- and/or 23AON-treated mice. Overall these results show that the use of prednisone forms no barrier to participation in clinical trials with AONs.
Verhaart and colleagues examine the effects of prednisolone, a corticosteroid, on the function of antisense oligonucleotide (AON) therapy for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. They show that prednisolone treatment does not interfere with AON uptake and exon-skipping levels in patient-derived muscle cells in vitro and in mdx mice in vivo. In fact, they suggest that prednisolone might even enhance the dystrophin expression induced by exon 23-specific AONs in mdx mice.
In Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), dystrophin mutation leads to progressive lethal skeletal muscle degeneration. For unknown reasons, dystrophin deficiency does not recapitulate DMD in mice (mdx), which have mild skeletal muscle defects and potent regenerative capacity. We postulated that human DMD progression is a consequence of loss of functional muscle stem cells (MuSC) and the mild mouse mdx phenotype results from greater MuSC reserve fueled by longer telomeres. We report that mdx mice lacking the RNA component of telomerase (mdx/mTR) have shortened telomeres in muscle cells and severe muscular dystrophy that progressively worsens with age. Muscle wasting severity parallels a decline in MuSC regenerative capacity, and is ameliorated histologically by transplantation of wild-type MuSC. These data show that DMD progression results in part from a cell-autonomous failure of MuSC to maintain the damage-repair cycle initiated by dystrophin deficiency. The essential role of MuSC function has therapeutic implications for DMD.
Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy; mdx; muscle stem cells; telomere shortening; telomerase; dystrophin
In patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and the standard mdx mouse model of DMD, dystrophin deficiency causes loss of neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOSμ) from the sarcolemma, producing functional ischemia when the muscles are exercised. We asked if functional muscle ischemia would be eliminated and normal blood flow regulation restored by treatment with an exogenous nitric oxide (NO)-donating drug. Beginning at 8 weeks of age, mdx mice were fed a standard diet supplemented with 1% soybean oil alone or in combination with a low (15 mg/kg) or high (45 mg/kg) dose of HCT 1026, a NO-donating nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agent which has previously been shown to slow disease progression in the mdx model. After 1 month of treatment, vasoconstrictor responses to intra-arterial norepinephrine (NE) were compared in resting and contracting hindlimbs. In untreated mdx mice, the usual effect of muscle contraction to attenuate NE-mediated vasoconstriction was impaired, resulting in functional ischemia: NE evoked similar decreases in femoral blood flow velocity and femoral vascular conductance (FVC) in the contracting compared to resting hindlimbs (ΔFVC contraction/ΔFVC rest = 0.88±0.03). NE-induced functional ischemia was unaffected by low dose HCT 1026 (ΔFVC ratio = 0.92±0.04; P>0.05 vs untreated), but was alleviated by the high dose of the drug (ΔFVC ratio = 0.22±0.03; P<0.05 vs untreated or low dose). The beneficial effect of high dose HCT 1026 was maintained with treatment up to 3 months. The effect of the NO-donating drug HCT 1026 to normalize blood flow regulation in contracting mdx mouse hindlimb muscles suggests a putative novel treatment for DMD. Further translational research is warranted.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a fatal disease of striated muscle deterioration caused by lack of the cytoskeletal protein dystrophin. Dystrophin deficiency causes muscle membrane instability, skeletal muscle wasting, cardiomyopathy, and heart failure. Advances in palliative respiratory care have increased the incidence of heart disease in DMD patients, for which there is no cure or effective therapy. Here we have shown that chronic infusion of membrane-sealing poloxamer to severely affected dystrophic dogs reduced myocardial fibrosis, blocked increased serum cardiac troponin I (cTnI) and brain type natriuretic peptide (BNP), and fully prevented left-ventricular remodeling. Mechanistically, we observed a markedly greater primary defect of reduced cell compliance in dystrophic canine myocytes than in the mildly affected mdx mouse myocytes, and this was associated with a lack of utrophin upregulation in the dystrophic canine cardiac myocytes. Interestingly, after chronic poloxamer treatment, the poor compliance of isolated canine myocytes remained evident, but this could be restored to normal upon direct application of poloxamer. Collectively, these findings indicate that dystrophin and utrophin are critical to membrane stability–dependent cardiac myocyte mechanical compliance and that poloxamer confers a highly effective membrane-stabilizing chemical surrogate in dystrophin/utrophin deficiency. We propose that membrane sealant therapy is a potential treatment modality for DMD heart disease and possibly other disorders with membrane defect etiologies.
Almost every boy that has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) will develop cardiac problems. Whereas, it used to be respiratory problems that was the main cause of death in these DMD boys; with the advent of better respiratory care it is now the cardiac involvement that is becoming the most common cause of their death. Once the heart is affected, there is progressive deterioration in the function of the heart over time. The main problem is the death of the cardiomyocytes. The cause of the cardiomyocyte death is due to the loss of dystrophin, this makes the sarcolemma more susceptible to damage, and leads to a cascade of calcium influx, calcium activated proteases and ultimately the death of the cardiomyocyte. The dead cardiomyocytes are replaced by fibrotic tissue, which results in a dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) developing, which begins in the base of the left ventricle and progresses to involve the entire left ventricle. The treatments used for the DMD cardiomyopathy are based on ones designed for other forms of cardiac weakness and include ACE-inhibitors and β-blockers. New therapies based around the pathophysiology in DMD are now being introduced. This review will look at the pathophysiology of the cardiac problems in DMD and how the various animal models that are available can be used to design new treatment options for DMD boys.
Cardiomyopathy; muscular dystrophy.
The dystrophin protein complex, an important regulator of muscle membrane integrity, also maintains neural organization through interactions with the L1CAM family member SAX-7.
The dystrophin protein complex (DPC), composed of dystrophin and associated proteins, is essential for maintaining muscle membrane integrity. The link between mutations in dystrophin and the devastating muscle failure of Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy (DMD) has been well established. Less well appreciated are the accompanying cognitive impairment and neuropsychiatric disorders also presented in many DMD patients, which suggest a wider role for dystrophin in membrane–cytoskeleton function. This study provides genetic evidence of a novel role for DYS-1/dystrophin in maintaining neural organization in Caenorhabditis elegans. This neuronal function is distinct from the established role of DYS-1/dystrophin in maintaining muscle integrity and regulating locomotion. SAX-7, an L1 cell adhesion molecule (CAM) homologue, and STN-2/γ-syntrophin also function to maintain neural integrity in C. elegans. This study provides biochemical data that show that SAX-7 associates with DYS-1 in an STN-2/γ-syntrophin–dependent manner. These results reveal a recruitment of L1CAMs to the DPC to ensure neural integrity is maintained.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a lethal, progressive muscle wasting
disease caused by a loss of sarcolemmal bound dystrophin, which results in
the death of the muscle fibers leading to the gradual depletion of skeletal
muscle. There is significant evidence demonstrating that increasing levels
of the dystrophin-related protein, utrophin, in mouse models results in
sarcolemmal bound utrophin and prevents the muscular dystrophy pathology.
The aim of this work was to develop a small molecule which increases the
levels of utrophin in muscle and thus has therapeutic potential.
Methodology and Principal Findings
We describe the in vivo activity of SMT C1100; the first
orally bioavailable small molecule utrophin upregulator. Once-a-day
daily-dosing with SMT C1100 reduces a number of the pathological effects of
dystrophin deficiency. Treatment results in reduced pathology, better muscle
physiology leading to an increase in overall strength, and an ability to
resist fatigue after forced exercise; a surrogate for the six minute walk
test currently recommended as the pivotal outcome measure in human trials
Conclusions and Significance
This study demonstrates proof-of-principle for the use of in
vitro screening methods in allowing identification of
pharmacological agents for utrophin transcriptional upregulation. The best
compound identified, SMT C1100, demonstrated significant disease modifying
effects in DMD models. Our data warrant the full evaluation of this compound
in clinical trials in DMD patients.
Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is a muscle disorder resulting from mutations or deletions in the dystrophin gene that results in loss of protein expression. Loss of dystrophin in muscle leads to defects in physiology and progressive muscle wasting that typically result in premature death due to cardiac dysfunction or respiratory failure. One approach to therapy in DMD involves delivery of therapeutics designed to cause skipping of the relevant mutated or deleted exon in the dystrophin gene, ultimately stimulating production of a truncated, but functional, dystrophin protein. To evaluate various therapeutic strategies like exon skipping, we attempted to identify potential biomarkers and to develop a quantitative strategy to measure and identify dystrophin protein isoforms in human skeletal muscles by MS. We used human muscle biopsy specimens to analyze dystrophin isoforms from normal human muscle and DMD muscle. Proteins from normal and DMD muscles were extracted and separated. LC/MS/MS spectra were acquired in a data-dependent mode. Proteins were searched against the human IPI Database. Data processing was done using Bioworks 3.3 for peptide ID based on Xcorr vs Charge state. The identified proteins of Normal (1013) vs DMD (865) muscle were classified by Babelomics. Their cellular component distributions were mitochondria (5.2/ 8.8%), intracellular (24.1/24.8%), membrane (14.8/11%), cytoskeleton (17.1/13.6%), cytoplasm (17.6/14.7%), nucleus (7.1/10.8%). Our results revealed the identification of proteins involved in nucleotide metabolism, Ca2+ handling, cellular stress response, key bioenegetic processes and biomarkers like dystrophin, utrophin, calpain and troponin. ICAT analysis followed by mass spectrometry detected levels of dystrophin. Improvements on the yield and recovery of dystrophy-related and clinically relevant tagged proteins are currently in progress.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a lethal X-linked muscle disease affecting 1/3500 live male birth. It results from defects in the subsarcolemmal protein dystrophin, a component of the dystrophinglycoprotein complex (DGC) which links the intracellular cytoskeleton to the extracellular matrix. The absence of dystrophin leads to muscle membrane fragility, muscle necrosis and gradual replacement of skeletal muscle by fat and connective tissue, through a complex and still unclear cascade of interconnecting events. No cure is currently available, with glucocorticoids being the sole drugs in clinical use in spite of their remarkable side effects. A great effort is devoted at performing pre-clinical tests on the mdx mouse, the mostly used homologous animal model for DMD, with the final aim to identify drugs safer than steroids and able to target the pathogenic mechanisms so to delay pathology progression. This review updates the efforts on this topic, focusing on the open issues about the animal model and highlighting the classes of pharmaceuticals that are more promising as diseasemodifiers, while awaiting for more corrective therapies. Although caution is necessary in data transfer from mdx model to DMD patients, the implementation of standard operating procedures and the growing understanding of the pathology may allow a more accurate evaluation of therapeutics, alone or in combination, in pre-clinical settings. A continuous cross-talk with clinicians and patients associations are also crucial points for proper translation of data from mouse to bedside.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy; mdx mouse model; pharmaceuticals; pre-clinical studies; translational research
Cardiomyopathy is reported in Duchenne and Becker muscle dystrophy patients and female carriers. Brain Natriuretic peptide (BNP) is a hormone produced mainly by ventricular cardiomyocytes and its production is up regulated in reaction to increased wall stretching. N-terminal-proBNP (NT-proBNP) has been shown to be a robust laboratory parameter to diagnose and monitor cardiac failure, and it may be helpful to screen for asymptomatic left ventricular dysfunction. Therefore we tested whether NT-proBNP can distinguish patients with Duchenne or Becker muscular dystrophy patients and carriers of a dystrophin mutation with a dilated cardiomyopathy from those without.
In a cohort of Duchenne and Becker muscle dystrophy patients (n = 143) and carriers (n = 219) NT-proBNP was measured, and echocardiography was performed to diagnose dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).
In total sixty-one patients (17%) fulfilled the criteria for DCM, whereas 283 patients (78%) had an elevated NT-pro BNP. The sensitivity of NT-proBNP for DCM in patients or carriers was 85%, the specificity 23%, area under the ROC-curve = 0.56. In the specified subgroups there was also no association.
Measurement of NT-pro BNP in patients suffering from Duchenne or Becker muscular dystrophy and carriers does not distinguish between those with and without dilated cardiomyopathy.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy; Becker muscular dystrophy; Brain Natriuretic peptide; Dystrophinopathy carriers; Dilated cardiomyopathy
Histone deacetylases inhibitors (HDACi) include a growing number of drugs that share the ability to inhibit the enzymatic activity of some or all the HDACs. Experimental and preclinical evidence indicates that these epigenetic drugs not only can be effective in the treatment of malignancies, inflammatory diseases and degenerative disorders, but also in the treatment of genetic diseases, such as muscular dystrophies. The ability of HDACi to counter the progression of muscular dystrophies points to HDACs as a crucial link between specific genetic mutations and downstream determinants of disease progression. It also suggests the contribution of epigenetic events to the pathogenesis of muscular dystrophies. Here we describe the experimental evidence supporting the key role of HDACs in the control of the transcriptional networks underlying the potential of dystrophic muscles either to activate compensatory regeneration or to undergo fibroadipogenic degeneration. Studies performed in mouse models of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) indicate that dystrophin deficiency leads to deregulated HDAC activity, which perturbs downstream networks and can be restored directly, by HDAC blockade, or indirectly, by reexpression of dystrophin. This evidence supports the current view that HDACi are emerging candidate drugs for pharmacological interventions in muscular dystrophies, and reveals unexpected common beneficial outcomes of pharmacological treatment or gene therapy.
Dystrophin, the protein product of the Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) gene locus, is expressed on the muscle fiber surface. One key to further understanding of the cellular function of dystrophin would be extended knowledge about its subcellular organization. We have shown that dystrophin molecules are not uniformly distributed over the humen, rat, and mouse skeletal muscle fiber surface using three independent methods. Incubation of single-teased muscle fibers with antibodies to dystrophin revealed a network of denser transversal rings (costameres) and finer longitudinal interconnections. Double staining of longitudinal semithin cryosections for dystrophin and alpha-actinin showed spatial juxtaposition of the costameres to the Z bands. Where peripheral myonuclei precluded direct contact of dystrophin to the Z bands the organization of dystrophin was altered into lacunae harboring the myonucleus. These lacunae were surrounded by a dystrophin ring and covered by a more uniform dystrophin veil. Mechanical skinning of single-teased fibers revealed tighter mechanical connection of dystrophin to the plasma membrane than to the underlying internal domain of the muscle fiber. The entire dystrophin network remained preserved in its structure on isolated muscle sarcolemma and identical in appearance to the pattern observed on teased fibers. Therefore, connection of defined areas of plasma membrane or its constituents such as ion channels to single sarcomeres might be a potential function exerted by dystrophin alone or in conjunction with other submembrane cytoskeletal proteins.
Dystrophin, the protein product of the Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) gene, is a cytoskeletal protein tightly associated with a large oligomeric complex of sarcolemmal glycoproteins including dystroglycan, which provides a linkage to the extracellular matrix component, laminin. In DMD, the absence of dystrophin leads to a drastic reduction in all of the dystrophin-associated proteins, causing the disruption of the linkage between the subsarcolemmal cytoskeleton and the extracellular matrix which, in turn, may render muscle cells susceptible to necrosis. The COOH-terminal domains (cysteine-rich and carboxyl-terminal) of dystrophin have been suggested to interact with the sarcolemmal glycoprotein complex. However, truncated dystrophin lacking these domains was reported to be localized to the sarcolemma in four DMD patients recently. Here we report that all of the dystrophin-associated proteins are drastically reduced in the sarcolemma of three DMD patients in whom dystrophin lacking the COOH-terminal domains was properly localized to the sarcolemma. Our results indicate that the COOH-terminal domains of dystrophin are required for the proper interaction of dystrophin with the dystrophin-associated proteins and also support our hypothesis that the loss of the dystrophin-associated proteins in the sarcolemma leads to severe muscular dystrophy even when truncated dystrophin is present in the subsarcolemmal cytoskeleton.
Dystrophin is a large essential protein of skeletal and heart muscle. It is a filamentous scaffolding protein with numerous binding domains. Mutations in the DMD gene, which encodes dystrophin, mostly result in the deletion of one or several exons and cause Duchenne (DMD) and Becker (BMD) muscular dystrophies. The most common DMD mutations are frameshift mutations resulting in an absence of dystrophin from tissues. In-frame DMD mutations are less frequent and result in a protein with partial wild-type dystrophin function. The aim of this study was to highlight structural and functional modifications of dystrophin caused by in-frame mutations.
Methods and results
We developed a dedicated database for dystrophin, the eDystrophin database. It contains 209 different non frame-shifting mutations found in 945 patients from a French cohort and previous studies. Bioinformatics tools provide models of the three-dimensional structure of the protein at deletion sites, making it possible to determine whether the mutated protein retains the typical filamentous structure of dystrophin. An analysis of the structure of mutated dystrophin molecules showed that hybrid repeats were reconstituted at the deletion site in some cases. These hybrid repeats harbored the typical triple coiled-coil structure of native repeats, which may be correlated with better function in muscle cells.
This new database focuses on the dystrophin protein and its modification due to in-frame deletions in BMD patients. The observation of hybrid repeat reconstitution in some cases provides insight into phenotype-genotype correlations in dystrophin diseases and possible strategies for gene therapy. The eDystrophin database is freely available: http://edystrophin.genouest.org/.
Dystrophin; DMD gene mutations; Spectrin-like repeats; Duchenne muscular dystrophy; Becker muscular dystrophy; Phenotype-genotype correlation
Dystrophin, the protein product of the Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) gene, was studied in 19 patients with Xp21 disorders and in 25 individuals with non-Xp21 muscular dystrophy. Antibodies raised to seven different regions spanning most of the protein were used for immunocytochemistry. In all patients specific dystrophin staining anomalies were detected and correlated with clinical severity and also gene deletion. In patients with Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD) the anomalies detected ranged from inter- and intra-fibre variation in labelling intensity with the same antibody or several antibodies to general reduction in staining and discontinuous staining. In vitro evidence of abnormal dystrophin breakdown was observed reanalysing the muscle of patients, with BMD and not that of non-Xp21 dystrophies, after it has been stored for several months. A number of patients with DMD showed some staining but this did not represent a diagnostic problem. Based on the data presented, it was concluded that immunocytochemistry is a powerful technique in the prognostic diagnosis of Xp21 muscular dystrophies.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a severe and the most prevalent form of muscular dystrophy, characterized by rapid progression of muscle degeneration. Antisense-mediated exon skipping is currently one of the most promising therapeutic options for DMD. However, unmodified antisense oligos such as morpholinos require frequent (weekly or bi-weekly) injections. Recently, new generation morpholinos such as vivo-morpholinos are reported to lead to extensive and prolonged dystrophin expression in the dystrophic mdx mouse, an animal model of DMD. The vivo-morpholino contains a cell-penetrating moiety, octa-guanidine dendrimer. Here, we sought to test the efficacy of multiple exon skipping of exons 6–8 with vivo-morpholinos in the canine X-linked muscular dystrophy, which harbors a splice site mutation at the boundary of intron 6 and exon 7. We designed and optimized novel antisense cocktail sequences and combinations for exon 8 skipping and demonstrated effective exon skipping in dystrophic dogs in vivo. Intramuscular injections with newly designed cocktail oligos led to high levels of dystrophin expression, with some samples similar to wild-type levels. This is the first report of successful rescue of dystrophin expression with morpholino conjugates in dystrophic dogs. Our results show the potential of phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomer conjugates as therapeutic agents for DMD.