Circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) are being considered as non-invasive biomarkers for disease progression and clinical trials. Congenital muscular dystrophy with deficiency of laminin α2 chain (LAMA2-CMD) is a very severe form of muscular dystrophy, for which no treatment is available. In order to identify LAMA2-CMD biomarkers we have profiled miRNAs in urine from the dy2J/dy2J mouse model of LAMA2-CMD at three distinct time points (representing asymptomatic, initial and established disease). We demonstrate that unique groups of miRNAs are differentially expressed at each time point. We suggest that urine miRNAs can be sensitive biomarkers for different stages of LAMA2-CMD.
Introduction: Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is a genetic disease that is caused by a deficiency of dystrophin protein. Both Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy patients and dystrophic mice suffer from intestinal dysfunction.
Methods: The present study arose from a chance observation of differences in fecal output of dystrophic vs. normal mice during 20minutes of forced continuous treadmill exercise. Here, we report on the effects of exercise on fecal output in two different dystrophic mutants and their normal background control strains. All fecal materials evacuated during exercise were counted, dried and weighed.
Results: Mice of both mutant dystrophic strains produced significantly more fecal material during the exercise bout than the relevant control strains.
Discussion: We propose that exercise-induced Colo-Rectal Activation Phenotype test could be used as a simple, highly sensitive, noninvasive biomarker to determine efficacy of dystrophin replacement therapies.
The mdx mouse is the most frequently used animal model for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a fatal muscle disease caused by the loss of dystrophin. Mdx mice are naturally occurring dystrophin-null mice on the C57BL/10 (BL10) background. We crossed black mdx to the white FVB background and generated mdx/FVB mice. Compared to that of age- and sex-matched FVB mice, mdx/FVB mice showed characteristic limb muscle pathology similar to that of original mdx mice. Further, the forelimb grip strength and limb muscle (tibialis anterior and extensor digitorum longus) specific force of mdx/FVB mice were significantly lower than that of wild type FVB mice. Consistent with what has been reported in original mdx mice, mdx/FVB mice also showed increased susceptibility to eccentric contraction-induced force loss and elevated serum creatine kinase. Our results suggest that the FVB background does not dramatically alter the dystrophic phenotype of mdx mice.
The Snail gene family encodes DNA-binding zinc finger proteins that function as transcriptional repressors. While the Snai1 and Snai2 genes are required for normal development in mice, Snai3 mutant mice exhibit no obvious abnormalities. The Snai3 gene is expressed at high levels in skeletal muscle. However, we demonstrate by histological analysis that Snai3 null mutant mice exhibit normal skeletal muscle. During hindlimb muscle regeneration after cardiotoxin-mediated injury, the Snai3 null mice exhibited efficient regeneration. To determine whether the Snai3 gene functions redundantly with the Snai1 gene during skeletal muscle regeneration, we performed hindlimb muscle regeneration in mice with skeletal muscle-specific deletion of the Snai1 gene on a Snai3 null genetic background. These mice also exhibited efficient regeneration, demonstrating that there is no major role for the Snai1 and Snai3 genes in regulating skeletal muscle regeneration in mice.
Zebrafish are an excellent model for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. In particular, zebrafish provide a system for rapid, easy, and low-cost screening of small molecules that can ameliorate muscle damage in dystrophic larvae. Here we identify an optimal anti-sense morpholino cocktail that robustly knocks down zebrafish Dystrophin (dmd-MO). We use two approaches, muscle birefringence and muscle actin expression, to quantify muscle damage and show that the dmd-MO dystrophic phenotype closely resembles the zebrafish dmd mutant phenotype. We then show that the histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor TSA, which has been shown to ameliorate the mdx mouse Duchenne model, can rescue muscle fiber damage in both dmd-MO and dmd mutant larvae. Our study identifies optimal morpholino and phenotypic scoring approaches for dystrophic zebrafish, further enhancing the zebrafish dmd model for rapid and cost-effective small molecule screening.
Stem cell antigen-1 (Sca-1) is a member of the Ly-6 multigene family encoding highly homologous, glycosyl-phosphatidylinositol-anchored membrane proteins. Sca-1 is expressed on muscle-derived stem cells and myogenic precursors recruited to sites of muscle injury. We previously reported that inhibition of Sca-1 expression stimulated myoblast proliferation in vitro and regulated the tempo of muscle repair in vivo. Despite its function in myoblast expansion during muscle repair, a role for Sca-1 in normal, post-natal muscle has not been thoroughly investigated. We systematically compared Sca-1-/- (KO) and Sca-1+/+ (WT) mice and hindlimb muscles to elucidate the tissue, contractile, and functional effects of Sca-1 in young and aging animals. Comparison of muscle volume, fibrosis, myofiber cross-sectional area, and Pax7+ myoblast number showed little differences between ages or genotypes. Exercise protocols, however, demonstrated decreased stamina in KO versus WT mice, with young KO mice achieving results similar to aging WT animals. In addition, KO mice did not improve with practice, while WT animals demonstrated conditioning over time. Surprisingly, myomechanical analysis of isolated muscles showed that KO young muscle generated more force and experienced less fatigue. However, KO muscle also demonstrated incomplete relaxation with fatigue. These findings suggest that Sca-1 is necessary for muscle conditioning with exercise, and that deficient conditioning in Sca-1 KO animals becomes more pronounced with age.