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 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.Skeletal muscle. 01/2014; 4(1):2.
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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 01/2014; 9(2):e88360. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The mammalian heart is responsible for not only pumping blood throughout the body but also adjusting this pumping activity quickly depending upon sudden changes in the metabolic demands of the body. For the most part, the human heart is capable of performing its duties without complications; however, throughout many decades of use, at some point this system encounters problems. Research into the heart's activities during healthy states and during adverse impacts that occur in disease states is necessary in order to strategize novel treatment options to ultimately prolong and improve patients' lives. Animal models are an important aspect of cardiac research where a variety of cardiac processes and therapeutic targets can be studied. However, there are differences between the heart of a human being and an animal and depending on the specific animal, these differences can become more pronounced and in certain cases limiting. There is no ideal animal model available for cardiac research, the use of each animal model is accompanied with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. In this review, we will discuss these advantages and disadvantages of commonly used laboratory animals including mouse, rat, rabbit, canine, swine, and sheep. Since the goal of cardiac research is to enhance our understanding of human health and disease and help improve clinical outcomes, we will also discuss the role of human cardiac tissue in cardiac research. This review will focus on the cardiac ventricular contractile and relaxation kinetics of humans and animal models in order to illustrate these differences.Pharmacology [?] Therapeutics 10/2013; · 7.75 Impact Factor