Recent studies have defined a group of muscular dystrophies, now termed the dystroglycanopathies, as novel disorders of glycosylation. These conditions include Walker–Warburg syndrome, muscle–eye–brain disease, Fukuyama-type congenital muscular dystrophy, congenital muscular dystrophy types 1C and 1D, and limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2I. Although clinical findings can be highly variable, dystroglycanopathies are all characterized by cortical malformations and ocular defects at the more severe end of the clinical spectrum, in addition to muscular dystrophy. All of these disorders are defined by the underglycosylation of α-dystroglycan. Defective glycosylation of dystroglycan severs the link between this important cell adhesion molecule and the extracellular matrix, thereby contributing to cellular pathology. Recent experiments indicate that glycosylation might not only define forms of muscular dystrophy but also provide an avenue to the development of therapies for these disorders.
dystroglycan; glycosylation; laminin; lissencephaly; neuromuscular junction; skeletal muscle
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.
muscular dystrophy; heart; cardiomyopathy; Duchenne muscular dystrophy; dystrophin; sarcoglycan
Various muscular dystrophies are associated with the defective glycosylation of α-dystroglycan and are known to result from mutations in genes encoding glycosyltransferases. Fukutin-related protein (FKRP) was identified as a homolog of fukutin, the defective protein in Fukuyama-type congenital muscular dystrophy (FCMD), that is thought to function as a glycosyltransferase. Mutations in FKRP have been linked to a variety of phenotypes including Walker–Warburg syndrome (WWS), limb girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD) 2I and congenital muscular dystrophy 1C (MDC1C). Zebrafish are a useful animal model to reveal the mechanism of these diseases caused by mutations in FKRP gene. Downregulating FKRP expression in zebrafish by two different morpholinos resulted in embryos which had developmental defects similar to those observed in human muscular dystrophies associated with mutations in FKRP. The FKRP morphants showed phenotypes involving alterations in somitic structure and muscle fiber organization, as well as defects in developing eye morphology. Additionally, they were found to have a reduction in α-dystroglycan glycosylation and a shortened myofiber length. Moreover, co-injection of fish or human FKRP mRNA along with the morpholino restored normal development, α-dystroglycan glycosylation and laminin binding activity of α-dystroglycan in the morphants. Co-injection of the human FKRP mRNA containing causative mutations found in human patients of WWS, MDC1C and LGMD2I could not restore their phenotypes significantly. Interestingly, these morphant fish having human FKRP mutations showed a wide phenotypic range similar to that seen in humans.
A family is described in which benign Becker type X-linked muscular dystrophy and deutan colour blindness are segregating. The lod scores from this family have been added to those obtained in a family previously reported (Emery et.al, 1968/1969) and give an estimate of 0·23 for the recombination fraction with 95% confidence limits of 0·13 to 0·43. These results confirm the linkage relationships between deutan colour blindness and Becker muscular dystrophy but since the loci for Duchenne muscular dystrophy and colour blindness are not within measurable distance of each other these results indicate that the Becker and Duchenne types of X-linked muscular dystrophy are not allelic.
A number of forms of congenital muscular dystrophy (CMD) have been identified that involve defects in the glycosylation of dystroglycan with O-mannosyl-linked glycans. There are at least six genes that can affect this type of glycosylation, and defects in these genes give rise to disorders that have many aspects of muscle and brain pathology in common. Overexpression of one gene implicated in CMD, LARGE, was recently shown to increase dystroglycan glycosylation and restore its function in cells taken from CMD patients. Overexpression of Galgt2, a glycosyltransferase not implicated in CMD, also alters dystroglycan glycosylation and inhibits muscular dystrophy in a mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. These findings suggest that a common approach to therapy in muscular dystrophies may be to increase the glycosylation of dystroglycan with particular glycan structures.
While researchers are yet to establish a link a between muscular dystrophy (MD) and sarcomas in human patients, literature suggests that MD genes dystrophin and dysferlin act as tumor suppressor genes in mouse models of MD. For instance, dystrophin deficient mdx and dysferlin deficient A/J mice, models of human Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy type 2B, respectively, develop mixed sarcomas with variable penetrance and latency. To further establish the correlation between MD and sarcoma development, and to test whether a combined deletion of dystrophin and dysferlin exacerbates MD and augments the incidence of sarcomas, we generated dystrophin and dysferlin double mutant mice (STOCK-Dysfprmd Dmdmdx-5Cv). Not surprisingly, the double mutant mice develop severe MD symptoms and moreover develop rhabdomyosarcoma at an average age of 12 months, with an incidence of > 90%. Histological and immunohistochemical analyses, using a panel of antibodies against skeletal muscle cell proteins, electron microscopy, cytogenetics, and molecular analysis reveal that the double mutant mice develop rhabdomyosarcoma. The present finding bolsters the correlation between MD and sarcomas, and provides a model not only to examine the cellular origins but also to identify mechanisms and signal transduction pathways triggering development of RMS.
Muscular dystrophy; Dystrophin; Dysferlin; Rhabdomyosarcoma; Cytogenetics
This report concerns two families in which the index patients are sporadic cases of a benign form of muscular dystrophy. In both families the sisters of the patients have married a close relative. The respective risks for a child of these consanguineous marriages being affected with either X linked Becker muscular dystrophy or autosomal recessive limb girdle muscular dystrophy is calculated using pedigree information, results of serum creatine kinase determinations, and also, in one family, results of DNA typing using RFLPs from the short arm of the X chromosome.
Ribosome concentration, ribosome distribution on sucrose density gradients, and in-vitro ribosomal amino-acid incorporation (noncollagen and collagen synthesis) were studied in muscle biopsy samples obtained from 30 patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, seven patients with Becker muscular dystrophy, and 10 with facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy. Ribosome concentration was normal in Duchenne and facioscapulohumeral and decreased in Becker muscular dystrophy. Distribution of ribosomes in sucrose density gradients showed abnormalities (sharp monosomal peak and fewer polyribosomes) only in Duchenne muscular dystrophy and was normal in the other two types. In-vitro amino-acid incorporation of ribosomes in Duchenne muscular dystrophy revealed high collagen and low noncollagen synthesis of the heavy polyribosomes. This abnormality is controlled by an undetermined enzymatic factor belonging to the soluble enzyme fraction. Supplementation of the dystrophic heavy polyribosomes with normal soluble enzymes restored the synthesis of collagen to that of the controls. Heavy polyribosomes extracted from normals or from carriers produce proportionately more collagen in the presence of soluble enzyme fraction from Duchenne muscular dystrophy than in the presence of their homologous enzymes. In Becker muscular dystrophy, both noncollagen and collagen synthesis of the heavy polyribosomes were increased, under the influence of ribosomal factors. The different protein synthesis in Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophies suggests that these conditions are non-allelic. In facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy the changes in protein synthesis occurred only in the early stage of the disease and consisted of increased noncollagen synthesis of the light polyribosomes, while the heavy polyribosomes had normal activity including collagen synthesis. This reaction was controlled by ribosomal factors.
Investigations into both the pathophysiology and therapeutic targets in muscle dystrophies have been hampered by the limited proliferative capacity of human myoblasts. Isolation of reliable and stable immortalized cell lines from patient biopsies is a powerful tool for investigating pathological mechanisms, including those associated with muscle aging, and for developing innovative gene-based, cell-based or pharmacological biotherapies.
Using transduction with both telomerase-expressing and cyclin-dependent kinase 4-expressing vectors, we were able to generate a battery of immortalized human muscle stem-cell lines from patients with various neuromuscular disorders.
The immortalized human cell lines from patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy, congenital muscular dystrophy, and limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2B had greatly increased proliferative capacity, and maintained their potential to differentiate both in vitro and in vivo after transplantation into regenerating muscle of immunodeficient mice.
Dystrophic cellular models are required as a supplement to animal models to assess cellular mechanisms, such as signaling defects, or to perform high-throughput screening for therapeutic molecules. These investigations have been conducted for many years on cells derived from animals, and would greatly benefit from having human cell models with prolonged proliferative capacity. Furthermore, the possibility to assess in vivo the regenerative capacity of these cells extends their potential use. The innovative cellular tools derived from several different neuromuscular diseases as described in this report will allow investigation of the pathophysiology of these disorders and assessment of new therapeutic strategies.
The nuclear lamina is a protein meshwork lining the nucleoplasmic face of the inner nuclear membrane and represents an important determinant of interphase nuclear architecture. Its major components are the A- and B-type lamins. Whereas B-type lamins are found in all mammalian cells, A-type lamin expression is developmentally regulated. In the mouse, A-type lamins do not appear until midway through embryonic development, suggesting that these proteins may be involved in the regulation of terminal differentiation. Here we show that mice lacking A-type lamins develop to term with no overt abnormalities. However, their postnatal growth is severely retarded and is characterized by the appearance of muscular dystrophy. This phenotype is associated with ultrastructural perturbations to the nuclear envelope. These include the mislocalization of emerin, an inner nuclear membrane protein, defects in which are implicated in Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy (EDMD), one of the three major X-linked dystrophies. Mice lacking the A-type lamins exhibit tissue-specific alterations to their nuclear envelope integrity and emerin distribution. In skeletal and cardiac muscles, this is manifest as a dystrophic condition related to EDMD.
emerin; muscular dystrophy; nuclear envelope; lamins
Progressive muscular dystrophy may produce abnormal reactions to several drugs. There is no consensus of opinion regarding the continuous infusion of propofol in patients with progressive muscular dystrophy. We successfully treated 2 patients with progressive muscular dystrophy who were anesthetized with a continuous infusion of propofol. In case 1, a 19-year-old, 59-kg man with Becker muscular dystrophy and mental retardation was scheduled for dental treatment under general anesthesia. General anesthesia was maintained by a continuous infusion of 6–10 mg/kg propofol per hour and an inhalational mixture of 67% nitrous oxide and 33% oxygen. No complications were observed during or after the operation. In case 2, a 5-year-old, 11-kg boy with Fukuyama type congenital muscular dystrophy and slight mental retardation was scheduled for dental treatment under general anesthesia. General anesthesia was maintained with a continuous infusion of 6–12 mg/kg propofol per hour and an inhalational mixture of 0.5–1.5% sevoflurane in 67% nitrous oxide and 33% oxygen. No complications were observed during or after the operation. It is speculated that a continuous infusion of propofol in progressive muscular dystrophy does not cause malignant hyperthermia because serum levels of creatine phosphokinase and myoglobin decreased after our anesthetic management. Furthermore, our observations suggest that sevoflurane may have some advantages in patients with progressive type muscular dystrophies other than Duchenne muscular dystrophy and Becker muscular dystrophy. In conclusion, our cases suggest that a continuous infusion of propofol for the patients with progressive muscular dystrophy is a safe component of our anesthetic strategy.
Propofol; Progressive muscular dystrophy; General anesthesia; Sevoflurane
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.
Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy (EMD) is characterised by (1) early contractures of the Achilles tendons, elbows, and postcervical muscles, (2) slowly progressive muscle wasting and weakness with a predominantly humeroperoneal distribution in the early stages, and (3) cardiomyopathy with conduction defects and risk of sudden death. Inheritance is usually X linked recessive but can be autosomal dominant. Family linkage studies have mapped X linked EMD to the distal long arm of the X chromosome but precise genetic localisation has been hampered by the rarity of this condition. We report three new families with X linked Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy studied with DNA markers from Xq27-qter and three previously published families typed for additional markers. No recombination was observed with the red/green cone pigment locus, RGCP (lod score, Z = 2.46), the factor VIII coagulant gene locus, F8C (Z = 6.39), or with DXS115 (Z = 4.94). Two recombinants were observed which mapped EMD distal to DXS15 (DX13) and DXS52 (St14) respectively. Multipoint linkage analysis gave odds exceeding 200:1 for EMD being distal to these markers. A multipoint analysis incorporating published data gave the map cen-DXS304-9cM-DXS15-3cM-DXS52-2 cM-(RGCP,EMD)-3cM-F8C-2cM-DXS115 with odds of 120:1 in favour of a location for EMD between DXS52 and F8C as compared to the next best position distal to F8C.
It has become clear in the past half decade that a number of forms of congenital muscular dystrophy are in fact congenital disorders of glycosylation. Genes for Walker Warburg syndrome, muscle-eye-brain disease, Fukuyama congenital muscular dystrophy, congenital muscular dystrophy 1C and 1D, and limb girdle muscular dystrophy 2I have been identified, and gene mutations resulting in these diseases all cause the underglycosylation of α dystroglycan with O-linked carbohydrates. Unlike congenital disorders of glycosylation involving the N-linked pathway, these O-linked disorders possess distinctive muscle, eye, and brain phenotypes. Studies using mice and patient tissues strongly suggest that underglycosylation of dystroglycan inhibits the binding extracellular matrix proteins, effectively divorcing this important cell adhesion molecule from its extracellular environment. Moreover, defects in dystroglycan alone can account for most, if not all, cellular pathology. Thus, these disorders are now collectively referred to as dystroglycanopathies.
Biomarkers are critically important for disease diagnosis and monitoring. In particular, close monitoring of disease evolution is eminently required for the evaluation of therapeutic treatments. Classical monitoring methods in muscular dystrophies are largely based on histological and molecular analyses of muscle biopsies. Such biopsies are invasive and therefore difficult to obtain. The serum protein creatine kinase is a useful biomarker, which is however not specific for a given pathology and correlates poorly with the severity or course of the muscular pathology. The aim of the present study was the systematic evaluation of serum microRNAs (miRNAs) as biomarkers in striated muscle pathologies. Mouse models for five striated muscle pathologies were investigated: Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2D (LGMD2D), limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2C (LGMD2C), Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy (EDMD) and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Two-step RT-qPCR methodology was elaborated, using two different RT-qPCR miRNA quantification technologies. We identified miRNA modulation in the serum of all the five mouse models. The most highly dysregulated serum miRNAs were found to be commonly upregulated in DMD, LGMD2D and LGMD2C mouse models, which all exhibit massive destruction of striated muscle tissues. Some of these miRNAs were down rather than upregulated in the EDMD mice, a model without massive myofiber destruction. The dysregulated miRNAs identified in the HCM model were different, with the exception of one dysregulated miRNA common to all pathologies. Importantly, a specific and distinctive circulating miRNA profile was identified for each studied pathological mouse model. The differential expression of a few dysregulated miRNAs in the DMD mice was further evaluated in DMD patients, providing new candidates of circulating miRNA biomarkers for DMD.
Fatigue is a frequent complaint in muscular dystrophies but it is yet not well defined or studied. We have examined the issue of muscle fatigue in a series of molecularly defined muscular dystrophies. A greater fatigability is seen in muscular dystrophy patients and can be an acute or chronic status. In Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and beta-sarcoglycanopathy besides the alteration of dystrophin and/or sarcoglycan complex, a neuronal nitric oxide synthase depletion is frequently found and might correlate with post-exercise fatigability as well as with cardiac involvement. Therefore, it might be an important modulating factor of the severity of myopathy. In myotonic dystrophy, fatigue is a common complaint: muscle is involved and type 1 atrophy is a frequent feature; brain involvement and depressed mood might likely explain the extent of fatigue and daytime sleepiness commonly observed in these patients. Furthermore, in our observation in a series of 24 cases, muscle and brain can be independently involved in DM1 patients. These observations have profound impact on the type of physical therapy to be prescribed in such patients.
Fatigue; Duchenne dystrophy; Limb girdle dystrophy; Myotonic dystrophy; Nitric oxide synthase
Skeletal muscles are composed of heterogeneous collections of muscle fiber types, the arrangement of which contributes to a variety of functional capabilities in many muscle types. Furthermore, skeletal muscles can adapt individual myofibers under various circumstances, such as disease and exercise, by changing fiber types. This study was performed to examine the influence of dystrophin deficiency on fiber type composition of skeletal muscles in canine X-linked muscular dystrophy in Japan (CXMDJ), a large animal model for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
We used tibialis cranialis (TC) muscles and diaphragms of normal dogs and those with CXMDJ at various ages from 1 month to 3 years old. For classification of fiber types, muscle sections were immunostained with antibodies against fast, slow, or developmental myosin heavy chain (MHC), and the number and size of these fibers were analyzed. In addition, MHC isoforms were detected by gel electrophoresis.
In comparison with TC muscles of CXMDJ, the number of fibers expressing slow MHC increased markedly and the number of fibers expressing fast MHC decreased with growth in the affected diaphragm. In populations of muscle fibers expressing fast and/or slow MHC(s) but not developmental MHC of CXMDJ muscles, slow MHC fibers were predominant in number and showed selective enlargement. Especially, in CXMDJ diaphragms, the proportions of slow MHC fibers were significantly larger in populations of myofibers with non-expression of developmental MHC. Analyses of MHC isoforms also indicated a marked increase of type I and decrease of type IIA isoforms in the affected diaphragm at ages over 6 months. In addition, expression of developmental (embryonic and/or neonatal) MHC decreased in the CXMDJ diaphragm in adults, in contrast to continuous high-level expression in affected TC muscle.
The CXMDJ diaphragm showed marked changes in fiber type composition unlike TC muscles, suggesting that the affected diaphragm may be effectively adapted toward dystrophic stress by switching to predominantly slow fibers. Furthermore, the MHC expression profile in the CXMDJ diaphragm was markedly different from that in mdx mice, indicating that the dystrophic dog is a more appropriate model than a murine one, to investigate the mechanisms of respiratory failure in DMD.
Inclusion body myopathy with Paget disease of the bone (PDB) and/or frontotemporal dementia (IBMPFD, OMIM 167320), is a progressive autosomal dominant disorder caused by mutations in the Valousin-containing protein (VCP, p97 or CDC48) gene. IBMPFD can be difficult to diagnose. We assembled data on a large set of families to illustrate the number and type of misdiagnoses that occurred. Clinical analysis of 49 affected individuals in nine families indicated that 42 (87%) of individuals had muscle disease. The majority were erroneously diagnosed with limb girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD), facioscapular muscular dystrophy, peroneal muscular dystrophy, late adult onset distal myopathy, spinal muscular atrophy, scapuloperoneal muscular dystrophy, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) among others. Muscle biopsies showed rimmed vacuoles characteristic of an inclusion body myopathy in 7 of 18 patients (39%), however, inclusion body myopathy was correctly diagnosed among individuals in only families 5 and 15. Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) was diagnosed in 13 individuals (27%) at a mean age of 57 years (range 48.9–60.2 years); however, several individuals had been diagnosed with Alzheimer disease. Histopathological examination of brains of three affected individuals revealed a pattern of ubiquitin positive neuronal intranuclear inclusions and dystrophic neurites. These families expand the clinical phenotype in IBMPFD, a complex disorder caused by mutations in VCP. The presence of PDB in 28 (57%) individuals suggests that measuring serum alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity may be a useful screen for IBMPFD in patients with myopathy.
autosomal dominant; hereditary inclusion body myopathy; limb-girdle muscular dystrophy; Paget disease of bone; frontotemporal dementia; chromosome 9p13.3-12; VCP (valosin-containing protein)
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.
Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy (EDMD) and limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 1B (LGMD1B) are characterized by cardiac dysrhythmias, late-onset cardiomyopathy, slowly progressive skeletal myopathy and contractures of the neck, elbows and ankles. The causative mutation is either in the emerin gene (X-linked recessive EDMD) or lamin A/C gene (autosomal dominant EDMD2 or LGMD1B). We report three cases of EDMD, EDMD2 and LGMD1B. A 14-yr-old boy showed limitation of cervical flexion and contractures of both elbows and ankles. Sinus arrest with junctional escape beats was noted. He was diagnosed as X-linked recessive EDMD (MIM 310300). A 28-yr-old female showed severe wasting and weakness of humeroperoneal muscles. Marked limitation of cervical flexion and contractures of both elbows and ankles were noted. Varying degrees of AV block were noted. She was diagnosed as autosomal dominant EDMD2 (MIM 181350). A 41-yr-old female had contractures of both ankles and limb-girdle type muscular dystrophy. ECG revealed atrial tachycardia with high grade AV block. She was diagnosed as autosomal dominant LGMD1B (MIM 159001). Cardiac dysrhythmias in EDMD and LGMD1B include AV block, bradycardia, atrial tachycardia, atrial fibrillation, and atrial standstill, causing sudden death necessitating pacemaker implantation. Cardiologists should know about these unusual genetic diseases with conduction defects, especially in young adults.
Muscular Dystrophies; Cardiomyopathies; emerin; Lamins; Heart Conduction System
Although Duchenne muscular dystrophy is primarily
categorised as a skeletal muscle disease, deficiency in the
membrane cytoskeletal protein dystrophin also affects the heart.
The central transsarcolemmal linker between the actin membrane
cytoskeleton and the extracellular matrix is represented by the
dystrophin-associated dystroglycans. Chemical cross-linking
analysis revealed no significant differences in the dimeric
status of the α-/β-dystroglycan subcomplex in the
dystrophic mdx heart as compared to normal
cardiac tissue. In analogy to skeletal muscle fibres, heart
muscle also exhibited a greatly reduced abundance of both
dystroglycans in dystrophin-deficient cells. Immunoblotting
demonstrated that the degree of reduction in
α-dystroglycan is more pronounced in matured mdx
skeletal muscle as contrasted to the mdx heart. The fact
that the deficiency in dystrophin triggers a similar
pathobiochemical response in both types of muscle suggests that
the cardiomyopathic complications observed in
x-linked muscular dystrophy might be initiated by
the loss of the dystrophin-associated surface glycoprotein
Mutations in genes encoding the intermediate filament nuclear lamins and associated proteins cause a wide spectrum of diseases sometimes called “laminopathies.” Diseases caused by mutations in LMNA encoding A-type lamins include autosomal dominant Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy and related myopathies, Dunnigan-type familial partial lipodystrophy, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2B1 and developmental and accelerated aging disorders. Duplication in LMNB1 encoding lamin B1 causes autosomal dominant leukodystrophy and mutations in LMNB2 encoding lamin B2 are associated with acquired partial lipodystrophy. Disorders caused by mutations in genes encoding lamin-associated integral inner nuclear membrane proteins include X-linked Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy, sclerosing bone dysplasias, HEM/Greenberg skeletal dysplasia and Pelger-Huet anomaly. While mutations and clinical phenotypes of “laminopathies” have been carefully described, data explaining pathogenic mechanisms are only emerging. Future investigations will likely identify new “laminopathies” and a combination of basic and clinical research will lead to a better understanding of pathophysiology and the development of therapies.
lamin; nuclear envelope; intermediate filaments; muscular dystrophy; lipodystrophy; progeria
The A and B type lamins are nuclear intermediate filament proteins that comprise the bulk of the nuclear lamina, a thin proteinaceous structure underlying the inner nuclear membrane. The A-type lamins are encoded by the lamin A gene (LMNA). Mutations in this gene have been linked to at least nine diseases, including the progeroid diseases Hutchinson-Gilford progeria and atypical Werner’s syndromes, striated muscle diseases including muscular dystrophies and dilated cardiomyopathies, lipodystrophies affecting adipose tissue deposition, diseases affecting skeletal development, and a peripheral neuropathy. To understand how different diseases arise from different mutations in the same gene, mouse lines carrying some of the same mutations found in the human diseases have been established. We, and others have generated mice with different mutations that result in progeria, muscular dystrophy, and dilated cardiomyopathy. To further our understanding of the functions of the lamins, we also created mice lacking lamin B1, as well as mice expressing only one of the A-type lamins. These mouse lines are providing insights into the functions of the lamina and how changes to the lamina affect the mechanical integrity of the nucleus as well as signaling pathways that, when disrupted, may contribute to the disease.
Lamins; Nucleus; Laminopathies; Progeria
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.
Three patients with Emery Dreifuss muscular dystrophy are reported. Emery Dreifuss muscular dystrophy is an X linked muscular dystrophy, in which locomotor involvement is characteristically mild and slowly progressive. The effect on the heart becomes apparent in the teenage years and is characterised by cardiac conduction defects and infiltration of the myocardium by fibrous and adipose tissue. It first affects the atria, which results in atrial paralysis; treatment with ventricular pacing is usually needed. Female carriers can develop heart problems and are at risk of sudden death. Relatives of affected patients should be offered screening with electrocardiography and echocardiography.
Keywords: Emery Dreifuss muscular dystrophy; atrial paralysis; sudden death