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1.  Biodistribution and Molecular Studies on Orally Administered Nanoparticle-AON Complexes Encapsulated with Alginate Aiming at Inducing Dystrophin Rescue in mdx Mice 
BioMed Research International  2013;2013:527418.
We have previously demonstrated that intraperitoneal injections of 2′-O-methyl-phosphorothioate (2′OMePS) antisense oligoribonucleotides adsorbed onto a cationic core-shell nanoparticles (NPs), termed ZM2, provoke dystrophin restoration in the muscles of mdx mice. The aim of the present work was to evaluate the oral route as an alternative way of administration for ZM2-antisense oligoribonucleotides complexes. The biodistribution and elimination of nanoparticles were evaluated after single and multiple oral doses of IR-dye conjugated nanoparticles. Labeled nanoparticles were tracked in vivo as well as in tissue cryosections, urines and feces by Odyssey infrared imaging system, and revealed a permanence in the intestine and abdominal lymph nodes for 72 hours to 7 days before being eliminated. We subsequently tested alginate-free and alginate-encapsulated ZM2-antisense oligoribonucleotides (AON) complexes orally administered 2 and 3 times per week, respectively, in mdx mice for a total of 12 weeks. Treatment with alginate ZM2-AON induced a slight dystrophin rescue in diaphragm and intestine smooth muscles, while no dystrophin was detected in alginate-free ZM2-AON treated mice. These data encourage further experiments on oral administration testing of NP and AON complexes, possibly translatable in oligoribonucleotides-mediated molecular therapies.
doi:10.1155/2013/527418
PMCID: PMC3874323  PMID: 24392452
2.  Characterization of a rare case of Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy due to truncating mutations within the COL6A1 gene C-Terminal domain: a case report 
BMC Medical Genetics  2013;14:59.
Background
Mutations within the C-terminal region of the COL6A1 gene are only detected in Ullrich/Bethlem patients on extremely rare occasions.
Case presentation
Herein we report two Brazilian brothers with a classic Ullrich phenotype and compound heterozygous for two truncating mutations in COL6A1 gene, expected to result in the loss of the α1(VI) chain C2 subdomain. Despite the reduction in COL6A1 RNA level due to nonsense RNA decay, three truncated alpha1 (VI) chains were produced as protein variants encoded by different out-of-frame transcripts. Collagen VI matrix was severely decreased and intracellular protein retention evident.
Conclusion
The altered deposition of the fibronectin network highlighted abnormal interactions of the mutated collagen VI, lacking the α1(VI) C2 domain, within the extracellular matrix, focusing further studies on the possible role played by collagen VI in fibronectin deposition and organization.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-14-59
PMCID: PMC3681647  PMID: 23738969
Ullrich congenital dystrophy; Collagen VI; C-terminal truncating mutations
3.  Genetic characterization in symptomatic female DMD carriers: lack of relationship between X-inactivation, transcriptional DMD allele balancing and phenotype 
BMC Medical Genetics  2012;13:73.
Background
Although Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophies, X-linked recessive myopathies, predominantly affect males, a clinically significant proportion of females manifesting symptoms have also been reported. They represent an heterogeneous group characterized by variable degrees of muscle weakness and/or cardiac involvement. Though preferential inactivation of the normal X chromosome has long been considered the principal mechanism behind disease manifestation in these females, supporting evidence is controversial.
Methods
Eighteen females showing a mosaic pattern of dystrophin expression on muscle biopsy were recruited and classified as symptomatic (7) or asymptomatic (11), based on the presence or absence of muscle weakness. The causative DMD gene mutations were identified in all cases, and the X-inactivation pattern was assessed in muscle DNA. Transcriptional analysis in muscles was performed in all females, and relative quantification of wild-type and mutated transcripts was also performed in 9 carriers. Dystrophin protein was quantified by immunoblotting in 2 females.
Results
The study highlighted a lack of relationship between dystrophic phenotype and X-inactivation pattern in females; skewed X-inactivation was found in 2 out of 6 symptomatic carriers and in 5 out of 11 asymptomatic carriers. All females were characterized by biallelic transcription, but no association was found between X-inactivation pattern and allele transcriptional balancing. Either a prevalence of wild-type transcript or equal proportions of wild-type and mutated RNAs was observed in both symptomatic and asymptomatic females. Moreover, very similar levels of total and wild-type transcripts were identified in the two groups of carriers.
Conclusions
This is the first study deeply exploring the DMD transcriptional behaviour in a cohort of female carriers. Notably, no relationship between X-inactivation pattern and transcriptional behaviour of DMD gene was observed, suggesting that the two mechanisms are regulated independently. Moreover, neither the total DMD transcript level, nor the relative proportion of the wild-type transcript do correlate with the symptomatic phenotype.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-13-73
PMCID: PMC3459813  PMID: 22894145
Dystrophinopathy; Female carriers; X-inactivation; Transcriptional balancing

Results 1-3 (3)