Correction The fourth author was inadvertently left off the original author listing. Laurence Viollet-Callendret has been added to the original article as the fourth author. Reference Allen HD, Flanigan KM, Thrush PT, Viollet-Callendret L, Dvorchik I, Yin H, Canter C, Connolly AM, Parrish M, McDonald CM, Braunlin E, Colan SD, Day J, Darras B, Mendell […]
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.
To assess the utility of online patient self-report outcomes in a rare disease, we attempted to observe the effects of corticosteroids in delaying age at fulltime wheelchair use in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) using data from 1,057 males from DuchenneConnect, an online registry. Data collected were compared to prior natural history data in regard to age at diagnosis, mutation spectrum, and age at loss of ambulation. Because registrants reported differences in steroid and other medication usage, as well as age and ambulation status, we could explore these data for correlations with age at loss of ambulation. Using multivariate analysis, current steroid usage was the most significant and largest independent predictor of improved wheelchair-free survival. Thus, these online self-report data were sufficient to retrospectively observe that current steroid use by patients with DMD is associated with a delay in loss of ambulation. Comparing commonly used steroid drugs, deflazacort prolonged ambulation longer than prednisone (median 14 years and 13 years, respectively). Further, use of Vitamin D and Coenzyme Q10, insurance status, and age at diagnosis after 4 years were also significant, but smaller, independent predictors of longer wheelchair-free survival. Nine other common supplements were also individually tested but had lower study power. This study demonstrates the utility of DuchenneConnect data to observe therapeutic differences, and highlights needs for improvement in quality and quantity of patient-report data, which may allow exploration of drug/therapeutic practice combinations impractical to study in clinical trial settings. Further, with the low barrier to participation, we anticipate substantial growth in the dataset in the coming years.
The Performance of Upper Limb (PUL) test was specifically developed for the assessment of upper limbs in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). The first published data have shown that early signs of involvement can also be found in ambulant DMD boys. The aim of this longitudinal Italian multicentric study was to evaluate the correlation between the 6 Minute Walk Test (6MWT) and the PUL in ambulant DMD boys. Both 6MWT and PUL were administered to 164 ambulant DMD boys of age between 5.0 and 16.17 years (mean 8.82).
The 6 minute walk distance (6MWD) ranged between 118 and 557 (mean: 376.38, SD: 90.59). The PUL total scores ranged between 52 and 74 (mean: 70.74, SD: 4.66). The correlation between the two measures was 0.499.
The scores on the PUL largely reflect the overall impairment observed on the 6MWT but the correlation was not linear. The use of the PUL appeared to be less relevant in the very strong patients with 6MWD above 400 meters, who, with few exceptions had near full scores. In patients with lower 6MWD the severity of upper limb involvement was more variable and could not always be predicted by the 6MWD value or by the use of steroids.
Our results confirm that upper limb involvement can already be found in DMD boys even in the ambulant phase.
Many human diseases are associated with the abnormal expansion of unstable trinucleotide repeat sequences. The mechanisms of trinucleotide repeat size mutation have not been fully dissected, and their understanding must be grounded on the detailed analysis of repeat size distributions in human tissues and animal models. Small-pool PCR (SP-PCR) is a robust, highly sensitive and efficient PCR-based approach to assess the levels of repeat size variation, providing both quantitative and qualitative data. The method relies on the amplification of a very low number of DNA molecules, through sucessive dilution of a stock genomic DNA solution. Radioactive Southern blot hybridization is sensitive enough to detect SP-PCR products derived from single template molecules, separated by agarose gel electrophoresis and transferred onto DNA membranes. We describe a variation of the detection method that uses digoxigenin-labelled locked nucleic acid probes. This protocol keeps the sensitivity of the original method, while eliminating the health risks associated with the manipulation of radiolabelled probes, and the burden associated with their regulation, manipulation and waste disposal.
The coordinated differentiation of myoblasts to mature muscle is essential for muscle development and repair, and study of the myogenic program in health and disease is critical to the understanding and treatment of muscle pathologies. Use of quantitative RT-PCR to analyse gene expression in cell culture models of muscle differentiation can be highly informative, but data must be normalized to one or more suitable reference genes. Myogenesis is highly dynamic, thus identification of genes with stable expression throughout this process is challenging. Establishing a common set of reference genes suitable for measuring expression in both healthy and disease models would be of considerable advantage. We measured expression of 11 candidate normalization genes (Cdc40, Htatsf1, Ap3d1, Csnk2a2, Fbxw2, Fbxo38, Pak1ip1, Zfp91, GAPDH, ActB, 18S) in three cell culture models of myogenesis (C2C12 , H2K2B4, and the dystrophic line H2KSF1). Strong and weak normalization candidates were identified using the software packages Bestkeeper, geNorm and Normfinder, then validated against several known myogenic markers (MyoD, myogenin, MEF2C, dystrophin). Our data show that Csnk2a2 and Ap3d1 are suitable for normalizing gene expression during differentiation in both healthy and dystrophic cell-culture models, and that the commonly-used reference standards 18S, ActB and GAPDH are exceptionally poor candidates.
Introduction: One of the major challenges in the neuromuscular field has been lack of upper extremity outcome measures that can be useful for clinical therapeutic efficacy studies. Using vision-based sensor system and customized software, 3-dimensional (3D) upper extremity motion analysis can reconstruct a reachable workspace as a valid, reliable and sensitive outcome measure in various neuromuscular conditions where proximal upper extremity range of motion and function is impaired.
Methods: Using a stereo-camera sensor system, 3D reachable workspace envelope surface area normalized to an individual’s arm length (relative surface area: RSA) to allow comparison between subjects was determined for 20 healthy controls and 9 individuals with varying degrees of upper extremity dysfunction due to neuromuscular conditions. All study subjects were classified based on Brooke upper extremity function scale. Right and left upper extremity reachable workspaces were determined based on three repeated measures. The RSAs for each frontal hemi-sphere quadrant and total reachable workspaces were determined with and without loading condition (500 gram wrist weight). Data were analyzed for assessment of the developed system and validity, reliability, and sensitivity to change of the reachable workspace outcome.
Results: The mean total RSAs of the reachable workspace for the healthy controls and individuals with NMD were significantly different (0.586 ± 0.085 and 0.299 ± 0.198 respectively; p<0.001). All quadrant RSAs were reduced for individuals with NMDs compared to the healthy controls and these reductions correlated with reduced upper limb function as measured by Brooke grade. The upper quadrants of reachable workspace (above the shoulder level) demonstrated greatest reductions in RSA among subjects with progressive severity in upper extremity impairment. Evaluation of the developed outcomes system with the Bland-Altman method demonstrated narrow 95% limits of agreement (LOA) around zero indicating high reliability. In addition, the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) was 0.97. Comparison of the reachable workspace with and without loading condition (wrist weight) showed significantly greater RSA reduction in the NMD group than the control group (p<0.012), with most of the workspace reduction occurring in the ipsilateral upper quadrant relative to the tested arm (p<0.001). Reduction in reachable workspace due to wrist weight was most notable in those subjects with NMD with marginal strength reserve and moderate degree of impairment (Brooke = 2) rather than individuals with mild upper extremity impairment (Brooke = 1) or individuals who were more severely impaired (Brooke =3).
Discussion: The developed reachable workspace evaluation method using scalable 3D vision technology appears promising as an outcome measure system for clinical studies. A rationally-designed combination of upper extremity outcome measures including a region-specific global upper extremity outcome measure, such as the reachable workspace, complemented by targeted disease- or function-specific endpoints, may be optimal for future clinical efficacy trials.
This study sought to compare the effectiveness and safety of an angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor (ACE-I) (lisinopril) vs. an angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) (losartan) for the treatment of cardiomyopathy (CM) in boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).
Development of CM is universal in boys with DMD. ACE-I and ARB have both been suggested as effective treatment options. ARBs have been associated with skeletal muscle regeneration in a mouse model of DMD. The question of which, if either, is more effective for CM treatment in DMD remains. The purpose of this multicenter double-blind prospective study was to compare efficacy and safety of lisinopril versus losartan in the treatment of newly diagnosed CM in boys with DMD.
Echocardiographic technician inter- and intraobserver variability were tested on 2 separate days on 2 different boys with DMD CM. Results were compared with paired t-testing.
Twenty-two boys with newly diagnosed DMD CM (echocardiographic ejection fraction (EF) 10% EF drop. Three boys in the aCE-I group had 3 visits, due to study funding termination. Two were withdrawn because of low EF. All their data are included in the analysis for as long as they remained in the study. Mean EF’s were similar at baseline (47.5%- ACE-I, 48.4%- ARB). After 1 year each group significantly improved to 54.6% and 55.2% respectively (p=.02). There was no difference between the 2 treatment groups at 1 year.
Inter-observer and intra-observer reliability studies showed no differences between echocardiographers on serial examinations.
EF improved equally in the two groups. There is no therapeutic difference in EF improvement between lisinopril and losartan over the one-year duration for treatment of boys with DMD-related CM.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a lethal, progressive, muscle-wasting disease caused by mutations in the DMD gene. Structural remodelling processes are responsible for muscle atrophy and replacement of myofibers by fibrotic and adipose tissues. Molecular interventions modulating catabolic pathways, such as the ubiquitin-proteasome and the autophagy-lysosome systems, are under development for Duchenne and other muscular dystrophies. The Akt signaling cascade is one of the main pathways involved in protein synthesis and autophagy repression and is known to be up-regulated in dystrophin null mdx mice.
We report that autophagy is triggered by fasting in the tibialis anterior muscle of control mice but not in mdx mice. Mdx mice show persistent Akt activation upon fasting and failure to increase the expression of FoxO3 regulated autophagy and atrophy genes, such as Bnip3 and Atrogin1. We also provide evidence that autophagy is differentially regulated in mdx tibialis anterior and diaphragm muscles.
Our data support the concept that autophagy is impaired in the tibialis anterior muscle of mdx mice and that the regulation of autophagy is muscle type dependent. Differences between muscle groups should be considered during the pre-clinical development of therapeutic strategies addressing muscle metabolism.
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.