Background: The mdx mouse model for the fatal muscle wasting disease Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) shows a very mild pathology once growth has ceased, with low levels of myofibre necrosis in adults. However, from about 3 weeks of post-natal age, muscles of juvenile mdx mice undergo an acute bout of severe necrosis and inflammation: this subsequently decreases and stabilises to lower adult levels by about 6 weeks of age. Prior to the onset of this severe dystropathology, we have shown that mdx mice are deficient in the amino acid taurine (potentially due to weaning), and we propose that this exacerbates myofibre necrosis and inflammation in juvenile mdx mice. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to increase taurine availability to pre-weaned juvenile mdx mice (from 14 days of age), to evaluate the impact on levels of myofibre necrosis and inflammation (at 22 days) during the acute period of severe dystropathology. Results: Untreated 22 day old mdx muscle was not deficient in taurine, with similar levels to normal C57 control muscle. However taurine treatment, which increased the taurine content of young dystrophic muscle (by 40%), greatly reduced myofibre necrosis (by 75%) and prevented significant increases in 3 markers of inflammation. Conclusion: Taurine was very effective at preventing the acute phase of muscle damage that normally results in myofibre necrosis and inflammation in juvenile mdx mice, supporting continued research into the use of taurine as a therapeutic intervention for protecting growing muscles of young DMD boys
Background: Dysferlin is a sarcolemmal protein that is defective in Miyoshi myopathy and limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2B, and is involved in sarcolemmal repair. Primary cultured myoblasts and myotubes established from patient muscle biopsies have been widely utilized to explore the molecular mechanism of dysferlinopathy.
Objectives: The purpose of this study was to explore the possible utility of dermal fibroblasts from dysferlin-deficient patients and SJL mice as a tool for studying dysferlinopathy.
Methods: Dysferlin protein expression in fibroblasts from dysferlin-deficient patients and SJL mice was analyzed by immunoblotting and immunocytochemistry. The membrane wound-repair assay was performed on the fibroblasts using a confocal microscope equipped with a UV-laser. The membrane blebbing assay using hypotonic shock, in which normal membrane blebbing is detected only in the presence of dysferlin, was also performed using human and mouse fibroblasts.
Results: Mis-sense mutated dysferlin was expressed at a very low level in fibroblasts from a dysferlinopathy patient, and lower expression level of truncated dysferlin was observed in SJL mouse fibroblast. Fibroblasts from patients with dysferlinopathy and SJL mice showed attenuated membrane repair and did not form membrane blebs in response to hypoosmotic shock. Proteosomal inhibitior increased mis-sense mutated or truncated dysferlin levels, and restored membrane blebbing, however, proteosomal inhibition failed to improve levels of dysferlin with non-sense or frame-shift mutation.
Conclusion: Fibroblasts from dysferlinopathy patients and SJL mice showed attenuated plasma membrane repair, and could be a tool for studying dysferlinopathy.
The generation of disease-specific induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) holds a great promise for understanding disease mechanisms and for drug screening. Recently, patient-derived iPSCs, containing identical genetic anomalies of the patient, have offered a breakthrough approach to studying Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a fatal disease caused by the mutation in the dystrophin gene. However, development of scalable and high fidelity DMD-iPSCs is hampered by low reprogramming efficiency, the addition of expensive growth factors and slow kinetics of disease-specific fibroblasts. Here, we show an efficient generation of DMD-iPSCs on bFGF secreting human foreskin fibroblast feeders (I-HFF) by employing single polycistronic lentiviral vector for delivering of transcription factors to DMD patient-specific fibroblast cells. Using this method, DMD-iPSCs generated on I-HFF feeders displayed pluripotent characteristics and disease genotype with improved reprogramming efficiency and kinetics over to mouse feeders. Moreover, we were able to maintain disease-specific iPSCs without additional supplementation of bFGF on I-HFF feeders. Our findings offer improvements in the generation of DMD-iPSCs and will facilitate in understanding of pathological mechanisms and screening of safer drugs for clinical intervention. Key Words: Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, Reprogramming, Induced pluripotent Stem Cells, Immortalized Human Feeder, Basic Fibroblast Growth Factor, Stem Cell Cassette
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a progressive, life-limiting muscle-wasting disease. Although no curative treatment is yet available, comprehensive multidisciplinary care has increased life expectancy significantly in recent decades. An international consensus care publication in 2010 outlined best-practice care, which includes corticosteroid treatment, respiratory, cardiac, orthopedic and rehabilitative interventions to address disease manifestations. While disease specialists are largely aware of these care standards, local physicians responsible for the day-to-day care of patients and families may be less familiar. To facilitate optimal care, a one-page document has been generated from published care recommendations, summarizing the key elements of comprehensive care for people living with DMD (“Imperatives for Duchenne muscular dystrophy). This document was developed through an international collaboration between Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD), United Parent Projects Muscular Dystrophy (UPPMD) and TREAT-NMD.
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.