Sarcolemmal reorganization in facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy

Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Annals of Neurology (Impact Factor: 9.98). 02/2006; 59(2):289-97. DOI: 10.1002/ana.20750
Source: PubMed


We examined the sarcolemma of skeletal muscle from patients with facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD1A) to learn if, as in other murine and human muscular dystrophies, its organization and relationship to nearby contractile structures are altered.
Unfixed biopsies of control and FSHD deltoid and biceps muscles, snap-frozen at resting length, were cryosectioned, indirectly immunolabeled with fluorescent antibodies to sarcolemmal and myofibrillar markers, and examined with confocal microscopy to localize the immunolabeled proteins. Glutaraldehyde-fixed samples were stained with heavy metals, embedded, thin-sectioned, and examined with electron microscopy to determine the relationship between the sarcolemma and the underlying myofibrils.
Confocal microscopy showed that some of the structures at the sarcolemma in FSHD samples were misaligned with respect to the underlying contractile apparatus. Electron microscopy showed a significant increase in the distance between the sarcolemma and the nearest myofibrils, from less than 100 nm in controls to values as high as 550 nm in FSHD.
Our results show that the pathophysiology of FSHD includes novel changes in the organization of the sarcolemma and its association with nearby contractile structures and suggest that, as in other muscular dystrophies, the integrity of the sarcolemma may be compromised in FSHD.

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Available from: Robert J Bloch, Feb 26, 2015
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    • "Apparently, there is also not a large disease-related depletion of satellite cells in FSHD patients because of the above-mentioned finding that generating myoblast cell strains from moderately affected muscle biopsies of FSHD patients was no more difficult than from control muscle. Moreover, although Reed et al. [59] observed abnormal spatial relationships of the sarcolemma with the underlying contractile apparatus in affected FSHD muscle, the structure of the contractile apparatus itself appeared normal. The observed FSHD-associated gene dysregulation may have been heightened in the FSHD myoblasts and myotubes relative to their in-vivo counterparts due to the effects of cell culture and the use of the myoblast-stimulatory [37,38] dexamethasone in the culture medium for both FSHD and control myoblasts [60,61]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) is a dominant disease linked to contraction of an array of tandem 3.3-kb repeats (D4Z4) at 4q35. Within each repeat unit is a gene, DUX4, that can encode a protein containing two homeodomains. A DUX4 transcript derived from the last repeat unit in a contracted array is associated with pathogenesis but it is unclear how. Using exon-based microarrays, the expression profiles of myogenic precursor cells were determined. Both undifferentiated myoblasts and myoblasts differentiated to myotubes derived from FSHD patients and controls were studied after immunocytochemical verification of the quality of the cultures. To further our understanding of FSHD and normal myogenesis, the expression profiles obtained were compared to those of 19 non-muscle cell types analyzed by identical methods. Many of the ~17,000 examined genes were differentially expressed (>2-fold, p<0.01) in control myoblasts or myotubes vs. non-muscle cells (2185 and 3006, respectively) or in FSHD vs. control myoblasts or myotubes (295 and 797, respectively). Surprisingly, despite the morphologically normal differentiation of FSHD myoblasts to myotubes, most of the disease-related dysregulation was seen as dampening of normal myogenesis-specific expression changes, including in genes for muscle structure, mitochondrial function, stress responses, and signal transduction. Other classes of genes, including those encoding extracellular matrix or pro-inflammatory proteins, were upregulated in FSHD myogenic cells independent of an inverse myogenesis association. Importantly, the disease-linked DUX4 RNA isoform was detected by RT-PCR in FSHD myoblast and myotube preparations only at extremely low levels. Unique insights into myogenesis-specific gene expression were also obtained. For example, all four Argonaute genes involved in RNA-silencing were significantly upregulated during normal (but not FSHD) myogenesis relative to non-muscle cell types. DUX4's pathogenic effect in FSHD may occur transiently at or before the stage of myoblast formation to establish a cascade of gene dysregulation. This contrasts with the current emphasis on toxic effects of experimentally upregulated DUX4 expression at the myoblast or myotube stages. Our model could explain why DUX4's inappropriate expression was barely detectable in myoblasts and myotubes but nonetheless linked to FSHD.
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    • "In the nucleus, FRG1 is involved in RNA processing and colocalizes with proteins mutated in other neuromuscular disorders.8,9,10,11 In mature muscles, FRG1 localizes also to the sarcomeric Z-disc.7 Interestingly, in FSHD patients mild sarcomeric defects have been reported.12 Notably, many other myopathies are caused by mutations in genes encoding for sarcomeric proteins.13,14,15 "
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    ABSTRACT: Treatment of dominantly inherited muscle disorders remains a difficult task considering the need to eliminate the pathogenic gene product in a body-wide fashion. We show here that it is possible to reverse dominant muscle disease in a mouse model of facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD). FSHD is a common form of muscular dystrophy associated with a complex cascade of epigenetic events following reduction in copy number of D4Z4 macrosatellite repeats located on chromosome 4q35. Several 4q35 genes have been examined for their role in disease, including FRG1. Overexpression of FRG1 causes features related to FSHD in transgenic mice and the FRG1 mouse is currently the only available mouse model of FSHD. Here we show that systemic delivery of RNA interference expression cassettes in the FRG1 mouse, after the onset of disease, led to a dose-dependent long-term FRG1 knockdown without signs of toxicity. Histological features including centrally nucleated fibers, fiber size reduction, fibrosis, adipocyte accumulation, and inflammation were all significantly improved. FRG1 mRNA knockdown resulted in a dramatic restoration of muscle function. Through RNA interference (RNAi) expression cassette redesign, our method is amenable to targeting any pathogenic gene offering a viable option for long-term, body-wide treatment of dominant muscle disease in humans.
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    • "Thus, mu-crystallin may be involved in all of the biological processes known to be affected in FSHD. More experiments are needed to learn how widespread these changes are among FSHD patients, or in patients with other muscular dystrophies, and how they may be linked to the sarcolemmal defects in FSHD (Reed et al., 2006). Our continuing studies will determine if mucrystallin is also up-regulated in more severely affected muscles in FSHD or only those that, like deltoid, are mildly affected by the disease. "
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    ABSTRACT: To identify proteins expressed abnormally in facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), we extracted soluble proteins from deltoid muscle biopsies from unaffected control and FSHD patients and analyzed them using two-dimensional electrophoresis, mass spectrometry and immunoblotting. Muscles from patients with FSHD showed large increases over controls in a single soluble, 34 kDa protein (pI=5.08) identified by mass spectrometry and immunoblotting as mu-crystallin (CRYM). Soluble fractions of biopsies of several other myopathies and muscular dystrophies showed no appreciable increases in mu-crystallin. Mu-crystallin has thyroid hormone and NADPH binding activity and so may influence differentiation and oxidative stress responses, reported to be altered in FSHD. It is also linked to retinal and inner ear defects, common in FSHD, suggesting that its up-regulation may play a specific and important role in pathogenesis of FSHD.
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