Utrophin deficiency worsens cardiac contractile dysfunction present in dystrophin-deficient mdx mice
ABSTRACT The loss of dystrophin in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) causes devastating skeletal muscle degeneration and cardiomyopathy. Dystrophin-deficient (mdx) mice have a much milder phenotype, whereas double knockout (DKO) mice lacking both dystrophin and its homolog, utrophin, exhibit the clinical signs observed in DMD patients. We have previously shown that DKO and mdx mice have similar severities of histological features of cardiomyopathy, but no contractile functional measurements of DKO heart have ever been carried out. To investigate whether DKO mice display cardiac dysfunction at the tissue level, contractile response of the myocardium was tested in small, unbranched, ultrathin, right ventricular muscles. Under near physiological conditions, peak isometric active developed tension (F(dev), in mN/mm2) at a stimulation frequency of 4 Hz was depressed in DKO mice (15.3 +/- 3.7, n = 8) compared with mdx mice (24.2 +/- 5.4, n = 7), which in turn were depressed compared with wild-type (WT) control mice (33.2 +/- 4.5, n = 7). This reduced Fdev was also observed at frequencies within the murine physiological range; at 12 Hz, Fdev was (in mN/mm2) 11.4 +/- 1.8 in DKO, 14.5 +/- 4.2 in mdx, and 28.8 +/- 5.4 in WT mice. The depression of Fdev was observed over the entire frequency range of 4-14 Hz and was significant between DKO versus mdx mice, as well as between DKO or mdx mice versus WT mice. Under beta-adrenergic stimulation (1 micromol/l isoproterenol), Fdev in DKO preparations was only (in mN/mm2) 14.7 +/- 5.1 compared with 30.9 +/- 8.9 in mdx and 41.0 +/- 4.9 in WT mice. These data show that cardiac contractile dysfunction of mdx mice is generally worsened in mice also lacking utrophin.
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ABSTRACT: Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is an inherited disease that causes striated muscle weakness. Recently, we showed therapeutic effects of the combination of lisinopril (L), an angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor, and spironolactone (S), an aldosterone antagonist, in mice lacking dystrophin and haploinsufficient for utrophin (utrn(+/-);mdx, het mice); both cardiac and skeletal muscle function and histology were improved when these mice were treated early with LS. It was unknown to what extent LS treatment is effective in the most commonly used DMD murine model, the mdx mouse. In addition, current standard-of-care treatment for DMD is limited to corticosteroids. Therefore, potentially useful alternative or additive drugs need to be both compared directly to corticosteroids and tested in presence of corticosteroids. We evaluated the effectiveness of this LS combination in the mdx mouse model both compared with corticosteroid treatment (prednisolone, P) or in combination (LSP). We tested the additional combinatorial treatment containing the angiotensin II receptor blocker losartan (T), which is widely used to halt and treat the developing cardiac dysfunction in DMD patients as an alternative to an ACE inhibitor. Peak myocardial strain rate, assessed by magnetic resonance imaging, showed a negative impact of P, whereas in both diaphragm and extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscle contractile function was not significantly impaired by P. Histologically, P generally increased cardiac damage, estimated by percentage area infiltrated by IgG as well as by collagen staining. In general, groups that only differed in the presence or absence of P (i.e. mdx vs. P, LS vs. LSP, and TS vs. TSP) demonstrated a significant detrimental impact of P on many assessed parameters, with the most profound impact on cardiac pathology.PLoS ONE 02/2014; 9(2):e88360. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0088360 · 3.53 Impact FactorThis article is viewable in ResearchGate's enriched formatRG Format enables you to read in context with side-by-side figures, citations, and feedback from experts in your field.
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ABSTRACT: Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), induced by mutations in the gene encoding for the cytoskeletal protein dystrophin, is an inherited disease characterized by progressive muscle weakness. Besides the relatively well characterized skeletal muscle degenerative processes, DMD is also associated with cardiac complications. These include cardiomyopathy development and cardiac arrhythmias. The current understanding of the pathomechanisms in the heart is very limited, but recent research indicates that dysfunctional ion channels in dystrophic cardiomyocytes play a role. The aim of the present study was to characterize abnormalities in L-type calcium channel function in adult dystrophic ventricular cardiomyocytes. By using the whole cell patch clamp technique, the properties of currents through calcium channels in ventricular cardiomyocytes isolated from the hearts of normal and dystrophic adult mice were compared. Besides the commonly used dystrophin-deficient mdx mouse model for human DMD, we also used mdx-utr mice which are both dystrophin- and utrophin-deficient. We found that calcium channel currents were significantly increased, and channel inactivation was reduced in dystrophic cardiomyocytes. Both effects enhance the calcium influx during an action potential (AP). Whereas the AP in dystrophic mouse cardiomyocytes was nearly normal, implementation of the enhanced dystrophic calcium conductance in a computer model of a human ventricular cardiomyocyte considerably prolonged the AP. Finally, the described dystrophic calcium channel abnormalities entailed alterations in the electrocardiograms of dystrophic mice. We conclude that gain of function in cardiac L-type calcium channels may disturb the electrophysiology of the dystrophic heart and thereby cause arrhythmias.AJP Heart and Circulatory Physiology 12/2013; 306(4). DOI:10.1152/ajpheart.00441.2013 · 4.01 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Duchenne muscle dystrophy (DMD) afflicts 1 million boys in the US and has few effective treatments. Constitutive transgenic expression of the transcriptional coactivator peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator (PGC)-1alpha improves skeletal muscle function in the murine "mdx" model of DMD, but how this occurs, or whether it can occur post-natally, is not known. The leading mechanistic hypotheses for the benefits conferred by PGC-1alpha include the induction of utrophin, a dystrophin homolog, and/or induction and stabilization of the neuromuscular junction. The effects of transgenic overexpression of PGC-1beta, a homolog of PGC-1alpha in mdx mice was examined using different assays of skeletal muscle structure and function. To formally test the hypothesis that PGC-1alpha confers benefit in mdx mice by induction of utrophin and stabilization of neuromuscular junction, PGC-1alpha transgenic animals were crossed with the dystrophin utrophin double knock out (mdx/utrn-/-) mice, a more severe dystrophic model. Finally, we also examined the effect of post-natal induction of skeletal muscle-specific PGC-1alpha overexpression on muscle structure and function in mdx mice. We show here that PGC-1beta does not induce utrophin or other neuromuscular genes when transgenically expressed in mouse skeletal muscle. Surprisingly, however, PGC-1beta transgenesis protects as efficaciously as PGC-1alpha against muscle degeneration in dystrophin-deficient (mdx) mice, suggesting that alternate mechanisms of protection exist. When PGC-1alpha is overexpressed in mdx/utrn-/- mice, we find that PGC-1alpha dramatically ameliorates muscle damage even in the absence of utrophin. Finally, we also used inducible skeletal muscle-specific PGC-1alpha overexpression to show that PGC-1alpha can protect against dystrophy even if activated post-natally, a more plausible therapeutic option. These data demonstrate that PGC-1alpha can improve muscle dystrophy post-natally, highlighting its therapeutic potential. The data also show that PGC-1alpha is equally protective in the more severely affected mdx/utrn-/- mice, which more closely recapitulates the aggressive progression of muscle damage seen in DMD patients. The data also identify PGC-1beta as a novel potential target, equally efficacious in protecting against muscle dystrophy. Finally, the data also show that PGC-1alpha and PGC-1beta protect against dystrophy independently of utrophin or of induction of the neuromuscular junction, indicating the existence of other mechanisms.01/2014; 4(1):2. DOI:10.1186/2044-5040-4-2This article is viewable in ResearchGate's enriched formatRG Format enables you to read in context with side-by-side figures, citations, and feedback from experts in your field.