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1.  Dystrophin quantification and clinical correlations in Becker muscular dystrophy: implications for clinical trials 
Brain  2011;134(12):3544-3556.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy is caused by mutations in the DMD gene that disrupt the open reading frame and prevent the full translation of its protein product, dystrophin. Restoration of the open reading frame and dystrophin production can be achieved by exon skipping using antisense oligonucleotides targeted to splicing elements. This approach aims to transform the Duchenne muscular dystrophy phenotype to that of the milder disorder, Becker muscular dystrophy, typically caused by in-frame dystrophin deletions that allow the production of an internally deleted but partially functional dystrophin. There is ongoing debate regarding the functional properties of the different internally deleted dystrophins produced by exon skipping for different mutations; more insight would be valuable to improve and better predict the outcome of exon skipping clinical trials. To this end, we have characterized the clinical phenotype of 17 patients with Becker muscular dystrophy harbouring in-frame deletions relevant to on-going or planned exon skipping clinical trials for Duchenne muscular dystrophy and correlated it to the levels of dystrophin, and dystrophin-associated protein expression. The cohort of 17 patients, selected exclusively on the basis of their genotype, included 4 asymptomatic, 12 mild and 1 severe patient. All patients had dystrophin levels of >40% of control and significantly higher dystrophin (P = 0.013), β-dystroglycan (P = 0.025) and neuronal nitric oxide synthase (P = 0.034) expression was observed in asymptomatic individuals versus symptomatic patients with Becker muscular dystrophy. Furthermore, grouping the patients by deletion, patients with Becker muscular dystrophy with deletions with an end-point of exon 51 (the skipping of which could rescue the largest group of Duchenne muscular dystrophy deletions) showed significantly higher dystrophin levels (P = 0.034) than those with deletions ending with exon 53. This is the first quantitative study on both dystrophin and dystrophin-associated protein expression in patients with Becker muscular dystrophy with deletions relevant for on-going exon skipping trials in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Taken together, our results indicate that all varieties of internally deleted dystrophin assessed in this study have the functional capability to provide a substantial clinical benefit to patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
PMCID: PMC3235564  PMID: 22102647
Becker muscular dystrophy; Duchenne muscular dystrophy; nNOS; dystrophin-associated glycoprotein complex; therapy
2.  Anti-Dystrophin T Cell Responses in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy: Prevalence and a Glucocorticoid Treatment Effect 
Human Gene Therapy  2013;24(9):797-806.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) typically occurs as a result of truncating mutations in the DMD gene that result in a lack of expression of the dystrophin protein in muscle fibers. Various therapies under development are directed toward restoring dystrophin expression at the subsarcolemmal membrane, including gene transfer. In a trial of intramuscular adeno-associated virus (AAV)-mediated delivery of a therapeutic minidystrophin construct, we identified in two of six subjects the presence of a population of T cells that had been primed to recognize dystrophin epitopes before transgene delivery. As the presence of preexisting T cell immunity may have a significant effect on the success of therapeutic approaches for restoring dystrophin, we sought to determine the prevalence of such immunity within a DMD cohort from our Muscular Dystrophy Association clinic. Dystrophin-specific T cell immunity was evaluated in subjects with DMD who were either receiving the glucocorticoid steroid prednisone (n=24) or deflazacort (n=29), or who were not receiving steroids (n=17), as well as from normal age-matched control subjects (n=21). We demonstrate that increasing age correlates with an increased risk for the presence of anti-dystrophin T cell immunity, and that treatment with either corticosteroid decreases risk compared with no treatment, suggesting that steroid therapy in part may derive some of its benefit through modulation of T cell responses. The frequency of dystrophin-specific T cells detected by enzyme-linked immunospot assay was lower in subjects treated with deflazacort versus prednisone, despite similar overall corticosteroid exposure, suggesting that the effects of the two corticosteroids may not be identical in patients with DMD. T cells targeted epitopes upstream and downstream of the dystrophin gene mutation and involved the CD4+ helper and/or CD8+ cytotoxic subsets. Our data confirm the presence of preexisting circulating T cell immunity to dystrophin in a sizable proportion of patients with DMD, and emphasize the need to consider this in the design and interpretation of clinical gene therapy trials.
Flanigan and colleagues characterize the prevalence of preexisting dystrophin-specific T cells in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) patients. They identify CD4+ and CD8+ T cell populations targeting epitopes upstream and downstream of dystrophin mutations in a significant fraction of patients. They further demonstrate a lower frequency of dystrophin-specific T cells in patients receiving glucocorticoid therapy. These findings suggest important considerations for future DMD gene therapy trials and offer new insight into the mechanism of glucocorticoid therapy for DMD.
PMCID: PMC3768239  PMID: 24010700
3.  Progress in gene therapy of dystrophic heart disease 
Gene therapy  2012;19(6):678-685.
The heart is frequently afflicted in muscular dystrophy. In severe cases, cardiac lesion may directly result in death. Over the years, pharmacological and/or surgical interventions have been the mainstay to alleviate cardiac symptoms in muscular dystrophy patients. Although these traditional modalities remain useful, the emerging field of gene therapy has now provided an unprecedented opportunity to transform our thinking/approach in the treatment of dystrophic heart disease. In fact, the premise is already in place for genetic correction. Gene mutations have been identified and animal models are available for several types of muscular dystrophy. Most importantly, innovative strategies have been developed to effectively deliver therapeutic genes to the heart. Dystrophin-deficient Duchenne cardiomyopathy is associated with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), the most common lethal muscular dystrophy. Considering its high incidence, there has been a considerable interest and significant input in the development of Duchenne cardiomyopathy gene therapy. Using Duchenne cardiomyopathy as an example, here we illustrate the struggles and successes experienced in the burgeoning field of dystrophic heart disease gene therapy. In light of abundant and highly promising data with the adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector, we have specially emphasized on AAV-mediated gene therapy. Besides DMD, we have also discussed gene therapy for treating cardiac diseases in other muscular dystrophies such as limb-girdle muscular dystrophy.
PMCID: PMC3628728  PMID: 22318092
muscular dystrophy; heart; cardiomyopathy; Duchenne muscular dystrophy; dystrophin; sarcoglycan
4.  Genetic and clinical specificity of 26 symptomatic carriers for dystrophinopathies at pediatric age 
The molecular basis underlying the clinical variability in symptomatic Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) carriers are still to be precised. We report 26 cases of early symptomatic DMD carriers followed in the French neuromuscular network. Clinical presentation, muscular histological analysis and type of gene mutation, as well as X-chromosome inactivation (XCI) patterns using DNA extracted from peripheral blood or muscle are detailed. The initial symptoms were significant weakness (88%) or exercise intolerance (27%). Clinical severity varied from a Duchenne-like progression to a very mild Becker-like phenotype. Cardiac dysfunction was present in 19% of the cases. Cognitive impairment was worthy of notice, as 27% of the carriers are concerned. The muscular analysis was always contributive, revealing muscular dystrophy (83%), mosaic in immunostaining (81%) and dystrophin abnormalities in western blot analysis (84%). In all, 73% had exonic deletions or duplications and 27% had point mutations. XCI pattern was biased in 62% of the cases. In conclusion, we report the largest series of manifesting DMD carriers at pediatric age and show that exercise intolerance and cognitive impairment may reveal symptomatic DMD carriers. The complete histological and immunohistological study of the muscle is the key of the diagnosis leading to the dystrophin gene analysis. Our study shows also that cognitive impairment in symptomatic DMD carriers is associated with mutations in the distal part of the DMD gene. XCI study does not fully explain the mechanisms as well as the wide spectrum of clinical phenotype, though a clear correlation between the severity of the phenotype and inactivation bias was observed.
PMCID: PMC3722679  PMID: 23299919
dystrophin; female carrier; X inactivation
5.  Prednisolone Treatment Does Not Interfere with 2′-O-Methyl Phosphorothioate Antisense-Mediated Exon Skipping in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy 
Human Gene Therapy  2011;23(3):262-273.
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.
PMCID: PMC3300076  PMID: 22017442
6.  Functional Substitution by TAT-Utrophin in Dystrophin-Deficient Mice 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(5):e1000083.
James Ervasti and colleagues show that injection of a truncated form of utrophin transduced all tissues examined, integrated with members of the dystrophin complex, and reduced serum levels of creatine kinase in a mouse model of muscular dystrophy.
The loss of dystrophin compromises muscle cell membrane stability and causes Duchenne muscular dystrophy and/or various forms of cardiomyopathy. Increased expression of the dystrophin homolog utrophin by gene delivery or pharmacologic up-regulation has been demonstrated to restore membrane integrity and improve the phenotype in the dystrophin-deficient mdx mouse. However, the lack of a viable therapy in humans predicates the need to explore alternative methods to combat dystrophin deficiency. We investigated whether systemic administration of recombinant full-length utrophin (Utr) or ΔR4-21 “micro” utrophin (μUtr) protein modified with the cell-penetrating TAT protein transduction domain could attenuate the phenotype of mdx mice.
Methods and Findings
Recombinant TAT-Utr and TAT-μUtr proteins were expressed using the baculovirus system and purified using FLAG-affinity chromatography. Age-matched mdx mice received six twice-weekly intraperitoneal injections of either recombinant protein or PBS. Three days after the final injection, mice were analyzed for several phenotypic parameters of dystrophin deficiency. Injected TAT-μUtr transduced all tissues examined, integrated with members of the dystrophin complex, reduced serum levels of creatine kinase (11,290±920 U versus 5,950±1,120 U; PBS versus TAT), the prevalence of muscle degeneration/regeneration (54%±5% versus 37%±4% of centrally nucleated fibers; PBS versus TAT), the susceptibility to eccentric contraction-induced force drop (72%±5% versus 40%±8% drop; PBS versus TAT), and increased specific force production (9.7±1.1 N/cm2 versus 12.8±0.9 N/cm2; PBS versus TAT).
These results are, to our knowledge, the first to establish the efficacy and feasibility of TAT-utrophin-based constructs as a novel direct protein-replacement therapy for the treatment of skeletal and cardiac muscle diseases caused by loss of dystrophin.
Editors' Summary
Muscular dystrophies are genetic (inherited) diseases in which the body's muscles gradually weaken and degenerate. The commonest and most severe muscular dystrophy—Duchenne muscular dystrophy—affects 1 in 3,500 boys (girls can be carriers of the disease but rarely have any symptoms). At birth, these boys seem normal but the symptoms of their disease begin to appear in early childhood. Affected children may initially have difficulty walking or find it to hard to sit or stand independently. As they age, their muscle strength progressively declines and most affected boys are confined to a wheelchair by the time they are 12 years old. The muscles involved in breathing also weaken and the heart muscle becomes enlarged. Few boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy live beyond their early 20 s, usually dying from breathing or heart problems. At present there is no cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. However, physical therapy and treatment with steroids can prolong the ability of patients to walk, and assisted ventilation can help with their breathing.
Why Was This Study Done?
In all muscular dystrophies, one of the proteins needed to build and maintain healthy muscles is missing or nonfunctional because of a genetic change (mutation). In Duchenne muscular dystrophy the mutation is in dystrophin, a protein that is involved in the formation of the dystrophin–glycoprotein complex. This complex normally sits in the membranes that surround muscle fibers and protects these membranes from damage during muscle contraction. Consequently, in Duchenne muscular dystrophy, the muscle fiber membranes become damaged and eventually the muscle fibers die. Thus, if functional dystrophin could be introduced into the muscles of patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, it might be possible to reduce their symptoms and prolong their lives. Indeed, the effects of dystrophin deficiency in the dystrophin-deficient mdx mouse can be reduced by the introduction of an artificial gene that expresses dystrophin or the closely related protein utrophin. Unfortunately, this gene therapy approach has not yet been effectively demonstrated in humans. In this study, therefore, the researchers investigate whether utrophin protein can be introduced directly into dystrophin-deficient mouse muscles by exposing the muscle cells to utrophin fused to the protein transduction domain of the HIV-1 TAT protein. Most proteins will not cross cell membranes, but proteins fused to this cell-penetrating domain readily enter many cell types, including muscle cells.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers injected full-length utrophin fused to the TAT protein transduction domain (TAT-Utr) and a short, “micro” version of utrophin fused to the same domain (TAT-μUtr) into the abdomens of mdx mice and looked to see where the proteins ended up. After two injections, both proteins were present in a wide range of tissues and organs, including several types of muscle. However, the levels of TAT-Utr were much lower than those of TAT-μUtr. Next, the researchers injected another group of mdx mice with TAT-μUtr six times over three weeks. Again, TAT-μUtr was present in all the tissues that the researchers examined. Furthermore, μUtr–glycoprotein complexes formed in the TAT-μUtr injected mdx mice and the membrane integrity and overall health of the dystrophin-deficient muscles of the mdx mice improved compared to mdx mice treated with saline. Finally, the researchers report, TAT-μUtr injections greatly improved the contractile performance of the muscles of the mdx mice.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings provide the first demonstration that injection of TAT-utrophin protein fusions may provide a way to treat muscular dystrophies caused by the loss of dystrophin. However, although this direct protein-replacement therapy looks hopeful, approaches that work in animals do not necessarily work in people. In particular, for this approach to work in patients with muscular dystrophy, it would be necessary to give frequent, high-dose injections of the TAT-μUtr fusion protein, a process that could eventually trigger a deleterious immune response. Nevertheless, the researchers suggest that by combining this novel approach with other approaches that also increase utrophin expression, it might be possible to prevent or delay the development of the symptoms of Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke provides information on muscular dystrophy and ongoing research into possible treatments (in English and Spanish)
The US National Human Genome Research Institute also provides basic information on Duchenne muscular dystrophy and links to additional resources
The UK National Health Service Choices Web site has pages for patients and caregivers on muscular dystrophy
The Nemours Foundation provides information about muscular dystrophy for parents, children, and teenagers
For links to further resources on muscular dystrophy, see also MedlinePlus
PMCID: PMC2680620  PMID: 19478831
7.  Injection of Vessel-Derived Stem Cells Prevents Dilated Cardiomyopathy and Promotes Angiogenesis and Endogenous Cardiac Stem Cell Proliferation in mdx/utrn−/− but Not Aged mdx Mouse Models for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy 
It was hypothesized that mesoangioblast stem cells (aorta-derived mesoangioblasts [ADMs]) would restore dystrophin and alleviate or prevent dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in animal models of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). It was found that ADMs delay or prevent development of DCM in dystrophin-deficient heart, resulting in dystrophin expression, angiogenesis, stimulation of endogenous cardiac stem cell division, and the appearance of nestin+ cardiomyocytes of host origin. It was also found that timing of stem cell transplantation may be critical for achieving benefit with cell therapy in DMD cardiac muscle.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is the most common form of muscular dystrophy. DMD patients lack dystrophin protein and develop skeletal muscle pathology and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Approximately 20% succumb to cardiac involvement. We hypothesized that mesoangioblast stem cells (aorta-derived mesoangioblasts [ADMs]) would restore dystrophin and alleviate or prevent DCM in animal models of DMD. ADMs can be induced to express cardiac markers, including Nkx2.5, cardiac tropomyosin, cardiac troponin I, and α-actinin, and adopt cardiomyocyte morphology. Transplantation of ADMs into the heart of mdx/utrn−/− mice prior to development of DCM prevented onset of cardiomyopathy, as measured by echocardiography, and resulted in significantly higher CD31 expression, consistent with new vessel formation. Dystrophin-positive cardiomyocytes and increased proliferation of endogenous Nestin+ cardiac stem cells were detected in ADM-injected heart. Nestin+ striated cells were also detected in four of five mdx/utrn−/− hearts injected with ADMs. In contrast, when ADMs were injected into the heart of aged mdx mice with advanced fibrosis, no functional improvement was detected by echocardiography. Instead, ADMs exacerbated some features of DCM. No dystrophin protein, increase in CD31 expression, or increase in Nestin+ cell proliferation was detected following ADM injection in aged mdx heart. Dystrophin was observed following transplantation of ADMs into the hearts of young mdx mice, however, suggesting that pathology in aged mdx heart may alter the fate of donor stem cells. In summary, ADMs delay or prevent development of DCM in dystrophin-deficient heart, but timing of stem cell transplantation may be critical for achieving benefit with cell therapy in DMD cardiac muscle.
PMCID: PMC3659745  PMID: 23283493
Cellular therapy; Muscular dystrophy; Angiogenesis; Cardiac; Cellular proliferation; Neural stem cell; Cell transplantation
8.  A comprehensive database of Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy patients (0–18 years old) in East China 
Currently, there is no cure for Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophies (DMD/BMD). However, clinical trials with new therapeutic strategies are being conducted or considered. A comprehensive database is critical for patient recruitment and efficacy evaluation. China has the largest population, yet, no comprehensive database for DMD/BMD is available. Our study registered the data of the DMD/BMD patients in East China.
A modified registry form of Remudy ( was applied to Chinese DMD/BMD patients through the outpatient clinic at Children’s Hospital of Fudan University, Shanghai during the period of August 2011 to December 2013. The data included geographic distribution of patients, age at diagnosis, clinical manifestation, genetic analysis and treatment status.
194 DMD and 35 BMD patients were registered. Most patients lived in East China, namely Jiangsu province, Anhui province, Zhejiang province, Jiangxi province, Shanghai, Fujian province and Shandong province. All individuals aged less than 18 years (age limit to a children’s hospital). Diagnosis was made for a majority of patients during the age of 3–4 (16.6%) and 7–8 (14.8%) years old. Exon deletion was the most frequent genetic mutations (65.5% and 74.3%) followed by point mutations (14.4% and 11.4%), duplications (9.8% and 8.6%) and small insertion/deletion (9.3% and 2.9%) for DMD and BMD, respectively. 82.5% of DMD registrants were ambulatory, and all the BMD registrants were able to walk. 26.3% of DMD registrants have been treated with steroids. Cardiac functions were examined for 46.4% DMD boys and 45.7% BMD boys and respiratory functions were examined for 18.6% DMD boys and 14.3% BMD boys. Four boys with abnormal cardiac function were prescribed for treatment with cardiac medicine. 33.2% of DMD patients are eligible for exon skipping therapy, and among them 9.2% and 4.3% patients are eligible for skipping exon 51 and 53, respectively.
The database is the first linking accurate genetic diagnosis with clinical manifestation and treatment status of dystrophinopathy patients in East China. It provides comprehensive information essential for further patient management, especially for promotion of international cooperation in developing experimental therapies such as exon skipping and read-through of nonsense mutations targeting a subgroup of DMD patient population.
PMCID: PMC4323212  PMID: 25612904
Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy; The CHFU database; Patient management
9.  Muscle Structure Influences Utrophin Expression in mdx Mice 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(6):e1004431.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a severe muscle wasting disorder caused by mutations in the dystrophin gene. To examine the influence of muscle structure on the pathogenesis of DMD we generated mdx4cv:desmin double knockout (dko) mice. The dko male mice died of apparent cardiorespiratory failure at a median age of 76 days compared to 609 days for the desmin−/− mice. An ∼2.5 fold increase in utrophin expression in the dko skeletal muscles prevented necrosis in ∼91% of 1a, 2a and 2d/x fiber-types. In contrast, utrophin expression was reduced in the extrasynaptic sarcolemma of the dko fast 2b fibers leading to increased membrane fragility and dystrophic pathology. Despite lacking extrasynaptic utrophin, the dko fast 2b fibers were less dystrophic than the mdx4cv fast 2b fibers suggesting utrophin-independent mechanisms were also contributing to the reduced dystrophic pathology. We found no overt change in the regenerative capacity of muscle stem cells when comparing the wild-type, desmin−/−, mdx4cv and dko gastrocnemius muscles injured with notexin. Utrophin could form costameric striations with α-sarcomeric actin in the dko to maintain the integrity of the membrane, but the lack of restoration of the NODS (nNOS, α-dystrobrevin 1 and 2, α1-syntrophin) complex and desmin coincided with profound changes to the sarcomere alignment in the diaphragm, deposition of collagen between the myofibers, and impaired diaphragm function. We conclude that the dko mice may provide new insights into the structural mechanisms that influence endogenous utrophin expression that are pertinent for developing a therapy for DMD.
Author Summary
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a severe muscle wasting disorder caused by mutations in the dystrophin gene. Utrophin is structurally similar to dystrophin and improving its expression can prevent skeletal muscle necrosis in the mdx mouse model of DMD. Consequently, improving utrophin expression is a primary therapeutic target for treating DMD. While the downstream mechanisms that influence utrophin expression and stability are well described, the upstream mechanisms are less clear. Here, we found that perturbing the highly ordered structure of striated muscle by genetically deleting desmin from mdx mice increased utrophin expression to levels that prevented skeletal muscle necrosis. Thus, the mdx:desmin double knockout mice may prove valuable in determining the upstream mechanisms that influence utrophin expression to develop a therapy for DMD.
PMCID: PMC4055409  PMID: 24922526
10.  Diagnosis and cell-based therapy for Duchenne muscular dystrophy in humans, mice, and zebrafish 
Journal of human genetics  2006;51(5):397-406.
The muscular dystrophies are a heterogeneous group of genetically caused muscle degenerative disorders. The Kunkel laboratory has had a longstanding research program into the pathogenesis and treatment of these diseases. Starting with our identification of dystrophin as the defective protein in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), we have continued our work on normal dystrophin function and how it is altered in muscular dystrophy. Our work has led to the identification of the defective genes in three forms of limb girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD) and a better understanding of how muscle degenerates in many of the different dystrophies. The identification of mutations causing human forms of dystrophy has lead to improved diagnosis for patients with the disease. We are continuing to improve the molecular diagnosis of the dystrophies and have developed a high-throughput sequencing approach for the low-cost rapid diagnosis of all known forms of dystrophy. In addition, we are continuing to work on therapies using available animal models. Currently, there are a number of mouse models of the human dystrophies, the most notable being the mdx mouse with dystrophin deficiency. These mice are being used to test possible therapies, including stem-cell-based approaches. We have been able to systemically deliver human dystrophin to these mice via the arterial circulation and convert 8% of dystrophin-deficient fibers to fibers expressing human dystrophin. We are now expanding our research to identify new forms of LGMD by analyzing zebrafish models of muscular dystrophy. Currently, we have 14 different zebrafish mutants exhibiting various phenotypes of muscular dystrophy, including muscle weakness and inactivity. One of these mutants carries a stop codon mutation in dystrophin, and we have recently identified another carrying a mutation in titin. We are currently positionally cloning the disease-causative mutation in the remaining 12 mutant strains. We hope that one of these new mutant strains of fish will have a mutation in a gene not previously implicated in human muscular dystrophy. This gene would become a candidate gene to be analyzed in patients which do not carry a mutation in any of the known dystrophy-associated genes. By studying both disease pathology and investigating potential therapies, we hope to make a positive difference in the lives of people living with muscular dystrophy.
PMCID: PMC3518425  PMID: 16583129
DNA sequencing; Muscle; Muscular dystrophy; Stem cells; Zebrafish
11.  A Prospective Study in the Rational Design of Efficient Antisense Oligonucleotides for Exon Skipping in the DMD Gene 
Human Gene Therapy  2012;23(7):781-790.
Antisense oligonucleotide (AON)-mediated exon skipping to restore dystrophin expression in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) therapy shown promise in a number of human clinical trials. Current AON design methods are semi-empirical, involving either trial-and-error and/or preliminary experimentations. Therefore, a rational approach to design efficient AONs to address the wide spectrum of patients' mutations is desirable. Retrospective studies have extracted many AON design variables, but they were not tested prospectively to design AONs for skipping DMD exons. Not only did the variables differ among the various studies, no numerical cutoff for each variable was inferred, which makes their use in AON design difficult. The challenge is to thus select a minimal set of key independent variables that can consistently design efficient AONs. In this prospective study, a novel set of design variables with respective cutoff values was used to design 23 novel AONs, each to skip one of nine DMD exons. Nineteen AONs were found to be efficacious in inducing specific exon skipping (83% of total), of which 14 were considered efficient (61% of total), i.e., they induced exon skipping in >25% of total transcripts. Notably, the satisfactory success rates were achieved by using only three design variables; namely, co-transcriptional binding accessibility of target site, presence of exonic splicing enhancers, and target length. Retrospective analyses revealed that the most efficient AON in every exon targeted has the lowest average cumulative position (ACP) score. Taking the prospective and retrospective studies together, we propose that design guidelines recommend using the ACP score to select the most efficient AON for each exon.
In this study, Pramono and colleagues propose and experimentally validate a novel set of antisense oligonucleotides (AONs) for exon skipping in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Of the 23 novel AONs that were designed to skip one of nine DMD exons, 19 were found to be efficacious in inducing specific exon skipping in primary cultures of myogenic cells from patients with DMD.
PMCID: PMC3404420  PMID: 22486275
12.  Vascular-targeted therapies for Duchenne muscular dystrophy 
Skeletal Muscle  2013;3:9.
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.
PMCID: PMC3651321  PMID: 23618411
Duchenne muscular dystrophy; VEGF; Flt-1; Flk-1; Nitric oxide; PDE5 inhibitor; ACE inhibitor; Satellite cell; Muscle regeneration; Myofiber damage
13.  Participation in daily life activities and its relationship to strength and functional measures in boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy 
Disability and rehabilitation  2014;36(22):1918-1923.
While most studies of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) have focused on physical impairment, there is a need to explore how impairment impacts real life experiences in order to provide intervention strategies focused on participation. Objectives were: 1) to investigate the domains of participation in a sample of boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy; 2) to compare a younger (<10 years) and older (≥10 years) group of boys with DMD with regard to participation; 3) to investigate strength and timed functional tests in a sample of boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy; 4) to compare a younger (<10 years) and older (≥10 years) group of boys with DMD with regard to strength and timed functional tests; and 5) to explore associations between participation and strength and timed functional tests for our DMD cohorts.
This cross-sectional study included sixty boys with DMD (mean 9.3 years ±0.3). Boys completed strength testing, timed functional tests, the Children’s Assessment of Participation and Enjoyment and the ACTIVLIM. Independent samples t-tests were used to test for differences in all measures between our younger and older cohorts; Spearman’s (rank) correlation was used to assess relationships between participation and strength and time functional tests.
Significant differences were found between our younger and older boys with DMD in the areas of recreational (p≤0.01), social (p≤0.001), and skill-based activities (p≤0.05), as well as with whom and where the activities were performed (p≤0.05 and 0.001, respectively). Older boys with DMD report lower levels of participation in these areas, as well as less engagement in activities with individuals other than family members and less participation outside of the home. Lower levels of strength and slower rates of functional performance correlate with participation in fewer physical activities for our younger cohort and fewer physical and social activities for our older cohort.
Strength and function relate to the variability and type of activities in which boys with DMD participate. A key finding is the significant decline in social activities and community-based engagement as the boys with DMD age. The ultimate goal of an intervention is for our children to be as actively engaged in life as they desire. This requires addressing participation when measuring outcomes in order to more fully understand limitations and provide appropriate strategies for continued participation for boys and their families.
PMCID: PMC4125555  PMID: 24499260
Duchenne muscular dystrophy; participation; strength outcomes; functional outcomes; social engagement
14.  Comparative Genomics of X-linked Muscular Dystrophies: The Golden Retriever Model 
Current Genomics  2013;14(5):330-342.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a devastating disease that dramatically decreases the lifespan and abilities of affected young people. The primary molecular cause of the disease is the absence of functional dystrophin protein, which is critical to proper muscle function. Those with DMD vary in disease presentation and dystrophin mutation; the same causal mutation may be associated with drastically different levels of disease severity. Also contributing to this variation are the influences of additional modifying genes and/or changes in functional elements governing such modifiers. This genetic heterogeneity complicates the efficacy of treatment methods and to date medical interventions are limited to treating symptoms. Animal models of DMD have been instrumental in teasing out the intricacies of DMD disease and hold great promise for advancing knowledge of its variable presentation and treatment. This review addresses the utility of comparative genomics in elucidating the complex background behind phenotypic variation in a canine model of DMD, Golden Retriever muscular dystrophy (GRMD). This knowledge can be exploited in the development of improved, more personalized treatments for DMD patients, such as therapies that can be tailor-matched to the disease course and genomic background of individual patients.
PMCID: PMC3763684  PMID: 24403852
Genomics; Comparative genomics; Golden retriever muscular dystrophy; Duchenne muscular dystrophy; Animal models of DMD; Canine dystrophin
15.  Gene Therapy for Muscular Dystrophy: Lessons Learned and Path Forward 
Neuroscience letters  2012;527(2):90-99.
Our Translational Gene Therapy Center has used small molecules for exon skipping and mutation suppression and gene transfer to replace or provide surrogate genes as tools for molecular-based approaches for the treatment of muscular dystrophies. Exon skipping is targeted at the pre-mRNA level allowing one or more exons to be omitted to restore the reading frame. In Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), clinical trials have been performed with two different oligomers, a 2′O-methyl-ribo-oligonucleoside-phosphorothioate (2′OMe) and a phosphorodiamidate morpholino (PMO). Both have demonstrated early evidence of efficacy. A second molecular approach involves suppression of stop codons to promote readthrough of the DMD gene. We have been able to establish proof of principle for mutation suppression using the aminoglycoside, gentamicin. A safer, orally administered, alternative agent referred to as Ataluren (PTC124) has been used in clinical trials and is currently under consideration for approval by the FDA.
Using a gene therapy approach, we have completed two trials and have initiated a third. For DMD, we used a mini-dystrophin transferred in adeno-associated virus (AAV). In this trial an immune response was seen directed against transgene product, a quite unexpected outcome that will help guide further studies. For limb girdle muscular dystrophy 2D (alpha-sarcoglycan deficiency), the transgene was again transferred using AAV but in this study, a muscle specific creatine kinase promoter controlled gene expression that persisted for six months. A third gene therapy trial has been initiated with transfer of the follistatin gene in AAV directly to the quadriceps muscle. Two diseases with selective quadriceps muscle weakness are undergoing gene transfer including sporadic inclusion body myositis (sIBM) and Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD). Increasing the size and strength of the muscle is the goal of this study. Most importantly, no adverse events have been encountered in any of these clinical trials.
PMCID: PMC3492936  PMID: 22609847
exon skipping; mutation suppression; dystrophin; alpha-sarcoglycan; follistatin; adeno-associated virus
16.  Insights into bone health in Duchenne muscular dystrophy 
BoneKEy reports  2012;1:9.
Poor bone health is a significant problem for patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a progressive, disabling disease. Although the primary focus of DMD disease pathogenesis is degeneration of striated muscle, impairment of bone health likely has a role in the disease that has only been superficially examined to date. Deficiency of bone mineral density and increased incidence of bone fractures are well-recognized clinical components of the DMD phenotype. Furthermore, therapy with corticosteroids, an approved treatment for DMD that prolongs ambulation, may have multiple effects on bone health in DMD patients. This review examines the evidence in preclinical models and in human DMD disease that provides insight into the role performed by bone in the disease pathogenesis and phenotype of DMD. The information reviewed here points toward the need for mechanistic and therapeutic studies to optimize bone health in DMD patients.
PMCID: PMC3727795  PMID: 23951421
17.  An intronic LINE-1 element insertion in the dystrophin gene aborts dystrophin expression and results in Duchenne-like muscular dystrophy in the corgi breed 
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a dystrophin-deficient lethal muscle disease. To date, the catastrophic muscle wasting phenotype has only been seen in dystrophin-deficient humans and dogs. While Duchenne-like symptoms have been observed in more than a dozen dog breeds, the mutation is often not known and research colonies are rarely established. Here we report an independent canine DMD model originally derived from the Pembroke Welsh corgi breed. The affected dogs presented clinical signs of muscular dystrophy. Immunostaining revealed the absence of dystrophin and up-regulation of utrophin. Histopathologic examination showed variable fiber size, central nucleation, calcification, fibrosis, neutrophil and macrophage infiltration and cardiac focal vacuolar degeneration. Carrier dogs also displayed mild myopathy. The mutation was identified as a long interspersed repetitive element-1 (LINE-1) insertion in intron 13 which introduced a new exon containing an in-frame stop codon. Similar mutations have been seen in human patients. A colony was generated by crossing carrier females with normal males. Affected puppies had a normal birth weight but they experienced a striking growth delay in the first 5 days. In summary, the new corgi DMD model offers an excellent opportunity to study DMD pathogenesis and to develop novel therapies.
PMCID: PMC2999660  PMID: 20714321
18.  Mammalian Models of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy: Pathological Characteristics and Therapeutic Applications 
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a devastating X-linked muscle disorder characterized by muscle wasting which is caused by mutations in the DMD gene. The DMD gene encodes the sarcolemmal protein dystrophin, and loss of dystrophin causes muscle degeneration and necrosis. Thus far, therapies for this disorder are unavailable. However, various therapeutic trials based on gene therapy, exon skipping, cell therapy, read through therapy, or pharmaceutical agents have been conducted extensively. In the development of therapy as well as elucidation of pathogenesis in DMD, appropriate animal models are needed. Various animal models of DMD have been identified, and mammalian (murine, canine, and feline) models are indispensable for the examination of the mechanisms of pathogenesis and the development of therapies. Here, we review the pathological features of DMD and therapeutic applications, especially of exon skipping using antisense oligonucleotides and gene therapies using viral vectors in murine and canine models of DMD.
PMCID: PMC3022202  PMID: 21274260
19.  Targeting Fibrosis in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy 
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is the most common genetic muscle disease affecting 1 in 3,500 live male births. It is an X-linked recessive disease caused by a defective dystrophin gene. The disease is characterized by progressive limb weakness, respiratory and cardiac failure and premature death. Fibrosis is a prominent pathological feature of muscle biopsies from patients with DMD. It directly causes muscle dysfunction and contributes to the lethal DMD phenotype. Although gene therapy and cell therapy may ultimately provide a cure for DMD, currently the disease is devastating, with no effective therapies. Recent studies have demonstrated that ameliorating muscle fibrosis may represent a viable therapeutic approach for DMD. By reducing scar formation, antifibrotic therapies may not only improve muscle function but also enhance muscle regeneration and promote gene and stem cell engraftment. Antifibrotic therapy may serve as a necessary addition to gene and cell therapies to treat DMD in the future. Therefore, understanding cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying muscle fibrogenesis associated with dystrophin deficiency is key to the development of effective antifibrotic therapies for DMD.
PMCID: PMC2916968  PMID: 20613637
Antifibrotic therapy; Duchenne muscular dystrophy; Muscle fibrosis
20.  Duchenne muscular dystrophy gene therapy: Lost in translation? 
Research and reports in biology  2011;2011(2):31-42.
A milestone of molecular medicine is the identification of dystrophin gene mutation as the cause of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Over the last 2 decades, major advances in dystrophin biology and gene delivery technology have created an opportunity to treat DMD with gene therapy. Remarkable success has been achieved in treating dystrophic mice. Several gene therapy strategies, including plasmid transfer, exon skipping, and adeno-associated virus-mediated microdystrophin therapy, have entered clinical trials. However, therapeutic benefit has not been realized in DMD patients. Bridging the gap between mice and humans is no doubt the most pressing issue facing DMD gene therapy now. In contrast to mice, dystrophin-deficient dogs are genetically and phenotypically similar to human patients. Preliminary gene therapy studies in the canine model may offer critical insights that cannot be obtained from murine studies. It is clear that the canine DMD model may represent an important link between mice and humans. Unfortunately, our current knowledge of dystrophic dogs is limited, and the full picture of disease progression remains to be clearly defined. We also lack rigorous outcome measures (such as in situ force measurement) to monitor therapeutic efficacy in dystrophic dogs. Undoubtedly, maintaining a dystrophic dog colony is technically demanding, and the cost of dog studies cannot be underestimated. A carefully coordinated effort from the entire DMD community is needed to make the best use of the precious dog resource. Successful DMD gene therapy may depend on valid translational studies in dystrophin-deficient dogs.
PMCID: PMC3117615  PMID: 21691429
Duchenne muscular dystrophy; gene therapy; dystrophin; adeno-associated virus; exon-skipping; canine model
21.  Flt-1 haploinsufficiency ameliorates muscular dystrophy phenotype by developmentally increased vasculature in mdx mice 
Human Molecular Genetics  2010;19(21):4145-4159.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is an X-linked recessive genetic disease caused by mutations in the gene coding for the protein dystrophin. Recent work demonstrates that dystrophin is also found in the vasculature and its absence results in vascular deficiency and abnormal blood flow. This induces a state of ischemia further aggravating the muscular dystrophy pathogenesis. For an effective form of therapy of DMD, both the muscle and the vasculature need to be addressed. To reveal the developmental relationship between muscular dystrophy and vasculature, mdx mice, an animal model for DMD, were crossed with Flt-1 gene knockout mice to create a model with increased vasculature. Flt-1 is a decoy receptor for vascular endothelial growth factor, and therefore both homozygous (Flt-1−/−) and heterozygous (Flt-1+/−) Flt-1 gene knockout mice display increased endothelial cell proliferation and vascular density during embryogenesis. Here, we show that Flt-1+/− and mdx:Flt-1+/− adult mice also display a developmentally increased vascular density in skeletal muscle compared with the wild-type and mdx mice, respectively. The mdx:Flt-1+/− mice show improved muscle histology compared with the mdx mice with decreased fibrosis, calcification and membrane permeability. Functionally, the mdx:Flt-1+/− mice have an increase in muscle blood flow and force production, compared with the mdx mice. Consequently, the mdx:utrophin−/−:Flt-1+/− mice display improved muscle histology and significantly higher survival rates compared with the mdx:utrophin−/− mice, which show more severe muscle phenotypes than the mdx mice. These data suggest that increasing the vasculature in DMD may ameliorate the histological and functional phenotypes associated with this disease.
PMCID: PMC2951865  PMID: 20705734
22.  Impact of nasal ventilation on survival in hypercapnic Duchenne muscular dystrophy 
Thorax  1998;53(11):949-952.
BACKGROUND—Respiratory failure is the commonest cause of death in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Life expectancy is less than one year once diurnal hypercapnia develops. This study examines the effects of nasal intermittent positive pressure ventilation (NIPPV) on survival in symptomatic Duchenne patients with established ventilatory failure.
METHODS—Nocturnal NIPPV was applied in 23 consecutive patients with DMD of mean (SD) age 20.3 (3.4) years who presented with diurnal and nocturnal hypercapnia.
RESULTS—One year and five year survival rates were 85% (95% CI 69 to 100) and 73% (95% CI 53 to 94), respectively. Early changes in arterial blood gas tensions following NIPPV occurred with mean (SD) PO2 increasing from 7.6 (2.1) kPa to 10.8 (1.3) kPa and mean (SD) PCO2 falling from 10.3 (4.5) kPa to 6.1 (1.0) kPa. Improvements in arterial blood gas tensions were maintained over five years. Health perception and social aspects of SF-36 health related quality of life index were reported as equivalent to other groups with non-progressive disorders using NIPPV.
CONCLUSION—Nasal ventilation is likely to increase survival in hypercapnic patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy and should be considered as a treatment option when ventilatory failure develops.

PMCID: PMC1745110  PMID: 10193393
23.  Long-term improvement in mdx cardiomyopathy after therapy with peptide-conjugated morpholino oligomers† 
Cardiovascular Research  2009;85(3):444-453.
The cardiomyopathy found in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is responsible for death due to heart failure in ∼30% of patients and additionally contributes to many DMD morbidities. Strategies to bypass DMD-causing mutations to allow an increase in body-wide dystrophin have proved promising, but increasing cardiac dystrophin continues to be challenging. The purpose of this study was to determine if therapeutic restoration of cardiac dystrophin improved the significant cardiac hypertrophy and diastolic dysfunction identified in X-linked muscular dystrophy (mdx) dystrophin-null mouse due to a truncation mutation over time after treatment.
Methods and results
Mice lacking dystrophin due to a truncation mutation (mdx) were given an arginine-rich, cell-penetrating, peptide-conjugated phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomer (PPMO) that delivered a splice-switching oligonucleotide-mediated exon skipping therapy to restore dystrophin in mdx mice before the development of detectable cardiomyopathy. PPMO successfully restored cardiac dystrophin expression, preserved cardiac sarcolemma integrity, and prevented the development of cardiac pathology that develops in mdx-null mice over time. By echocardiography and Doppler analysis of the mitral valve, we identified that PPMO treatment of mdx mice prevented the cardiac hypertrophy and diastolic dysfunction identified in sham-treated, age-matched mdx mice, characteristic of DMD patients early in the disease process, in as little as 5–6 weeks after the initiation of treatment. Surprisingly, despite the short-term replacement of cardiac dystrophin (<1% present after 12 weeks by immunodetection), PPMO therapy also provided a durable cardiac improvement in cardiac hypertrophy and diastolic dysfunction for up to 7 months after the initiation of treatment.
These results demonstrate for the first time that PPMO-mediated exon skipping therapy early in the course of DMD may effectively prevent or slow down associated cardiac hypertrophy and diastolic dysfunction with significant long-term impact.
PMCID: PMC2802205  PMID: 19815563
Duchenne muscular dystrophy; Morpholino; Oligomers; Cardiomyopathy; Therapy; Exon skipping; Alternative RNA splicing
24.  Pharmacologic Management of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy: Target Identification and Preclinical Trials 
ILAR Journal  2014;55(1):119-149.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is an X-linked human disorder in which absence of the protein dystrophin causes degeneration of skeletal and cardiac muscle. For the sake of treatment development, over and above definitive genetic and cell-based therapies, there is considerable interest in drugs that target downstream disease mechanisms. Drug candidates have typically been chosen based on the nature of pathologic lesions and presumed underlying mechanisms and then tested in animal models. Mammalian dystrophinopathies have been characterized in mice (mdx mouse) and dogs (golden retriever muscular dystrophy [GRMD]). Despite promising results in the mdx mouse, some therapies have not shown efficacy in DMD. Although the GRMD model offers a higher hurdle for translation, dogs have primarily been used to test genetic and cellular therapies where there is greater risk. Failed translation of animal studies to DMD raises questions about the propriety of methods and models used to identify drug targets and test efficacy of pharmacologic intervention. The mdx mouse and GRMD dog are genetically homologous to DMD but not necessarily analogous. Subcellular species differences are undoubtedly magnified at the whole-body level in clinical trials. This problem is compounded by disparate cultures in clinical trials and preclinical studies, pointing to a need for greater rigor and transparency in animal experiments. Molecular assays such as mRNA arrays and genome-wide association studies allow identification of genetic drug targets more closely tied to disease pathogenesis. Genes in which polymorphisms have been directly linked to DMD disease progression, as with osteopontin, are particularly attractive targets.
PMCID: PMC4158345  PMID: 24936034
animal models; drug development; Duchenne muscular dystrophy; golden retriever muscular dystrophy; genome wide association studies; mRNA arrays; mdx mouse; preclinical studies
25.  Angiogenesis as a novel therapeutic strategy for Duchenne muscular dystrophy through decreased ischemia and increased satellite cells 
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is the most common hereditary muscular dystrophy caused by mutation in dystrophin, and there is no curative therapy. Dystrophin is a protein which forms the dystrophin-associated glycoprotein complex (DGC) at the sarcolemma linking the muscle cytoskeleton to the extracellular matrix. When dystrophin is absent, muscle fibers become vulnerable to mechanical stretch. In addition to this, accumulating evidence indicates DMD muscle having vascular abnormalities and that the muscles are under an ischemic condition. More recent studies demonstrate decreased vascular densities and impaired angiogenesis in the muscles of murine model of DMD. Therefore, generation of new vasculature can be considered a potentially effective strategy for DMD therapy. The pro-angiogenic approaches also seem to be pro-myogenic and could induce muscle regeneration capacity through expansion of the satellite cell juxtavascular niche in the mouse model. Here, we will focus on angiogenesis, reviewing the background, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)/VEGF receptor-pathway, effect, and concerns of this strategy in DMD.
PMCID: PMC3927135  PMID: 24600399
muscular dystrophy; regeneration; angiogenesis; VEGF; Flt-1; satellite cell; mdx mice; skeletal muscle

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