Pharmacological activation of PPARβ/δ stimulates utrophin A expression in skeletal muscle fibers and restores sarcolemmal integrity in mature mdx mice
ABSTRACT A therapeutic strategy to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) involves identifying compounds that can elevate utrophin A expression in muscle fibers of affected patients. The dystrophin homologue utrophin A can functionally substitute for dystrophin when its levels are enhanced in the mdx mouse model of DMD. Utrophin A expression in skeletal muscle is regulated by mechanisms that promote the slow myofiber program. Since activation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) beta/delta promotes the slow oxidative phenotype in skeletal muscle, we initiated studies to determine whether pharmacological activation of PPARbeta/delta provides functional benefits to the mdx mouse. GW501516, a PPARbeta/delta agonist, was found to stimulate utrophin A mRNA levels in C2C12 muscle cells through an element in the utrophin A promoter. Expression of PPARbeta/delta was greater in skeletal muscles of mdx versus wild-type mice. We treated 5-7-week-old mdx mice with GW501516 for 4 weeks. This treatment increased the percentage of muscle fibers expressing slower myosin heavy chain isoforms and stimulated utrophin A mRNA levels leading to its increased expression at the sarcolemma. Expression of alpha1-syntrophin and beta-dystroglycan was restored to the sarcolemma. Improvement of mdx sarcolemmal integrity was evidenced by decreased intracellular IgM staining and decreased in vivo Evans blue dye (EBD) uptake. GW501516 treatment also conferred protection against eccentric contraction (ECC)-induced damage of mdx skeletal muscles, as shown by a decreased contraction-induced force drop and reduction of dye uptake during ECC. These results demonstrate that pharmacological activation of PPARbeta/delta might provide functional benefits to DMD patients through enhancement of utrophin A expression.
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ABSTRACT: Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is caused by the absence of dystrophin along muscle fibers. An attractive therapeutic avenue for DMD consists in the upregulation of utrophin A, a protein with high sequence identity and functional redundancy with dystrophin. Recent work has shown that pharmacological interventions that induce a muscle fiber shift towards a slower, more oxidative phenotype with increased expression of utrophin A, confer morphological and functional improvements in mdx mice. Whether such improvements result from the increased expression of utrophin A per se or are linked to other beneficial adaptations associated with the slow, oxidative phenotype, remain to be established. To address this central issue, we capitalized on the use of double knockout (dKO) mice which are mdx mice also deficient in utrophin. We first compared expression of signaling molecules and markers of the slow, oxidative phenotype in muscles of mdx versus dKO mice and found that both strains exhibit similar phenotypes. Chronic activation of AMPK with AICAR resulted in expression of a slower, more oxidative phenotype in both mdx and dKO mice. In mdx mice, this fiber type shift was accompanied by clear functional improvements that included reductions in central nucleation, IgM sarcoplasmic penetration and sarcolemmal damage resulting from eccentric contractions, as well as in increased grip strength. These important morphological and functional adaptations were not seen in AICAR-treated dKO mice. Our findings show the central role of utrophin A in mediating the functional benefits associated with expression of a slower, more oxidative phenotype in dystrophic animals.Human Molecular Genetics 10/2014; 24(5). DOI:10.1093/hmg/ddu535 · 6.68 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The present investigation was undertaken to test whether exercise training (ET) associated with AMPK/PPAR agonists (EM) would improve skeletal muscle function in mdx mice. These drugs have the potential to improve oxidative metabolism. This is of particular interest because oxidative muscle fibers are less affected in the course of the disease than glycolitic counterparts. Therefore, a cohort of 34 male congenic C57Bl/10J mdx mice included in this study was randomly assigned into four groups: vehicle solution (V), EM [AICAR (AMPK agonist, 50 mg/Kg-1.day-1, ip) and GW 1516 (PPARδ agonist, 2.5 mg/Kg-1.day-1, gavage)], ET (voluntary running on activity wheel) and EM+ET. Functional performance (grip meter and rotarod), aerobic capacity (running test), muscle histopathology, serum creatine kinase (CK), levels of ubiquitined proteins, oxidative metabolism protein expression (AMPK, PPAR, myoglobin and SCD) and intracellular calcium handling (DHPR, SERCA and NCX) protein expression were analyzed. Treatments started when the animals were two months old and were maintained for one month. A significant functional improvement (p<0.05) was observed in animals submitted to the combination of ET and EM. CK levels were decreased and the expression of proteins related to oxidative metabolism was increased in this group. There were no differences among the groups in the intracellular calcium handling protein expression. To our knowledge, this is the first study that tested the association of ET with EM in an experimental model of muscular dystrophy. Our results suggest that the association of ET and EM should be further tested as a potential therapeutic approach in muscular dystrophies.PLoS ONE 09/2012; 7(9):e45699. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0045699 · 3.53 Impact Factor