Hindlimb immobilization applied to 21-day-old mdx mice prevents the occurrence of muscle degeneration.
Dystrophin-deficient skeletal muscles of mdx mice undergo their first rounds of degeneration-regeneration at the age of 14-28 days. This feature is thought to result from an increase in motor activity at weaning. In this study, we hypothesize that if the muscle is prevented from contracting, it will avoid the degenerative changes that normally occur. For this purpose, we developed a procedure of mechanical hindlimb immobilization in 3-wk-old mice to restrain soleus (Sol) and extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscles in the stretched or shortened position. After a 14-day period of immobilization, the striking feature was the low percentage of regenerated (centronucleated) myofibers in Sol and EDL muscles, regardless of the length at which they were fixed, compared with those on the contralateral side (stretched Sol: 8.4 +/- 6.5 vs. 46.6 +/- 10.3%, P = 0.0008; shortened Sol: 1.2 +/- 1.6 vs. 50.4 +/- 16.4%, P = 0.0008; stretched EDL: 05 +/- 0.5 vs. 32.9 +/- 17.5%, P = 0. 002; shortened EDL: 3.3 +/- 3.1 vs. 34.7 +/- 11.1%, P = 0.002). Total numbers of myofibers did not change with immobilization. This study shows that limb immobilization prevents the occurrence of the first round of myofiber necrosis in mdx mice and suggests that muscle contractions play a role in the skeletal muscle degeneration of dystrophin-deficient mdx mouse muscles. (+info)
Increased calcium entry into dystrophin-deficient muscle fibres of MDX and ADR-MDX mice is reduced by ion channel blockers.
1. Single fibres were enzymatically isolated from interosseus muscles of dystrophic MDX mice, myotonic-dystrophic double mutant ADR-MDX mice and C57BL/10 controls. The fibres were kept in cell culture for up to 2 weeks for the study of Ca2+ homeostasis and sarcolemmal Ca2+ permeability. 2. Resting levels of intracellular free Ca2+, determined with the fluorescent Ca2+ indicator fura-2, were slightly higher in MDX (63 +/- 20 nM; means +/- s.d.; n = 454 analysed fibres) and ADR-MDX (65 +/- 12 nM; n = 87) fibres than in controls (51 +/- 20 nM; n = 265). 3. The amplitudes of electrically induced Ca2+ transients did not differ between MDX fibres and controls. Decay time constants of Ca2+ transients ranged between 10 and 55 ms in both genotypes. In 50 % of MDX fibres (n = 68), but in only 20 % of controls (n = 54), the decay time constants were > 35 ms. 4. Bath application of Mn2+ resulted in a progressive quench of fura-2 fluorescence emitted from the fibres. The quench rate was about 2 times higher in MDX fibres (3.98 +/- 1.9 % min-1; n = 275) than in controls (2.03 +/- 1.4 % min-1; n = 204). The quench rate in ADR-MDX fibres (2.49 +/- 1.4 % min-1; n = 87) was closer to that of controls. 5. The Mn2+ influx into MDX fibres was reduced to 10 % by Gd3+, to 19 % by La3+ and to 47 % by Ni2+ (all at 50 microM). Bath application of 50 microM amiloride inhibited the Mn2+ influx to 37 %. 6. We conclude that in isolated, resting MDX muscle fibres the membrane permeability for divalent cations is increased. The presumed additional influx of Ca2+ occurs through ion channels, but is well compensated for by effective cellular Ca2+ transport systems. The milder dystrophic phenotype of ADR-MDX mice is correlated with a smaller increase of their sarcolemmal Ca2+ permeability. (+info)
Dynamics of myoblast transplantation reveal a discrete minority of precursors with stem cell-like properties as the myogenic source.
Myoblasts, the precursors of skeletal muscle fibers, can be induced to withdraw from the cell cycle and differentiate in vitro. Recent studies have also identified undifferentiated subpopulations that can self-renew and generate myogenic cells (Baroffio, A., M. Hamann, L. Bernheim, M.-L. Bochaton-Pillat, G. Gabbiani, and C.R. Bader. 1996. Differentiation. 60:47-57; Yoshida, N., S. Yoshida, K. Koishi, K. Masuda, and Y. Nabeshima. 1998. J. Cell Sci. 111:769-779). Cultured myoblasts can also differentiate and contribute to repair and new muscle formation in vivo, a capacity exploited in attempts to develop myoblast transplantation (MT) for genetic modification of adult muscle. Our studies of the dynamics of MT demonstrate that cultures of myoblasts contain distinct subpopulations defined by their behavior in vitro and divergent responses to grafting. By comparing a genomic and a semiconserved marker, we have followed the fate of myoblasts transplanted into muscles of dystrophic mice, finding that the majority of the grafted cells quickly die and only a minority are responsible for new muscle formation. This minority is behaviorally distinct, slowly dividing in tissue culture, but rapidly proliferative after grafting, suggesting a subpopulation with stem cell-like characteristics. (+info)
Extensive but coordinated reorganization of the membrane skeleton in myofibers of dystrophic (mdx) mice.
We used immunofluorescence techniques and confocal imaging to study the organization of the membrane skeleton of skeletal muscle fibers of mdx mice, which lack dystrophin. beta-Spectrin is normally found at the sarcolemma in costameres, a rectilinear array of longitudinal strands and elements overlying Z and M lines. However, in the skeletal muscle of mdx mice, beta-spectrin tends to be absent from the sarcolemma over M lines and the longitudinal strands may be disrupted or missing. Other proteins of the membrane and associated cytoskeleton, including syntrophin, beta-dystroglycan, vinculin, and Na,K-ATPase are also concentrated in costameres, in control myofibers, and mdx muscle. They also distribute into the same altered sarcolemmal arrays that contain beta-spectrin. Utrophin, which is expressed in mdx muscle, also codistributes with beta-spectrin at the mutant sarcolemma. By contrast, the distribution of structural and intracellular membrane proteins, including alpha-actinin, the Ca-ATPase and dihydropyridine receptors, is not affected, even at sites close to the sarcolemma. Our results suggest that in myofibers of the mdx mouse, the membrane- associated cytoskeleton, but not the nearby myoplasm, undergoes widespread coordinated changes in organization. These changes may contribute to the fragility of the sarcolemma of dystrophic muscle. (+info)
The timing between skeletal muscle myoblast replication and fusion into myotubes, and the stability of regenerated dystrophic myofibres: an autoradiographic study in mdx mice.
In mdx mice, a model for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, the timing between the replication of myoblasts and their incorporation into myotubes was determined autoradiographically. Thirty-eight mdx mice aged 23 d were injected with tritiated thymidine to label myoblasts replicating early in the dystrophic process. At intervals from 8 h to 30 d after injection the tibialis anterior muscles were removed, processed for autoradiography and analysed for labelled central myonuclei (derived from the progeny of myoblasts which had been labelled at 23 d). At 8 h after injection there were no labelled central myonuclei, showing that the labelled myoblasts had not fused within this time. At 1 d, 2 % of central myonuclei were labelled, at 2 d, up to 32% were labelled, at 3 d approximately 60% were labelled, and at 4 d the labelling peaked at 74%. In the 27 mice sampled from 5-30 d after injection, the levels of central myonuclear labelling varied enormously: from 1-63%. However, there was a consistent decrease in the numbers of labelled central myonuclei with time. This may have been due to dilution of the relative numbers of labelled myonuclei due to other, nonlabelled, myoblasts replicating after the availability of tritiated thymidine, and fusing. It was also possible that labelled myofibres underwent subsequent necrosis and were eliminated from the muscle. The proposal that a regenerated myofibre can undergo a subsequent cycle of necrosis and regeneration was supported by evidence of some necrotic myofibres with labelled and unlabelled central nuclei. These results have implications for understanding the cellular biology and pathology of dystrophic muscle, particularly in relation to myoblast transfer therapy as a potential treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. (+info)
Aminoglycoside antibiotics restore dystrophin function to skeletal muscles of mdx mice.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is caused by mutations in the dystrophin gene, leading to the absence of the dystrophin protein in striated muscle. A significant number of these mutations are premature stop codons. On the basis of the observation that aminoglycoside treatment can suppress stop codons in cultured cells, we tested the effect of gentamicin on cultured muscle cells from the mdx mouse - an animal model for DMD that possesses a premature stop codon in the dystrophin gene. Exposure of mdx myotubes to gentamicin led to the expression and localization of dystrophin to the cell membrane. We then evaluated the effects of differing dosages of gentamicin on expression and functional protection of the muscles of mdx mice. We identified a treatment regimen that resulted in the presence of dystrophin in the cell membrane in all striated muscles examined and that provided functional protection against muscular injury. To our knowledge, our results are the first to demonstrate that aminoglycosides can suppress stop codons not only in vitro but also in vivo. Furthermore, these results raise the possibility of a novel treatment regimen for muscular dystrophy and other diseases caused by premature stop codon mutations. This treatment could prove effective in up to 15% of patients with DMD. (+info)
Enhanced expression of recombinant dystrophin following intramuscular injection of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-based mini-chromosome vectors in mdx mice.
Gene transfer by direct intramuscular injection of naked plasmid DNA has been shown to be a safe, simple but relatively inefficient method for gene delivery in vivo. Eukaryotic plasmid expression vectors incorporating the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) origin of replication (oriP) and EBNA1 gene have been shown to act as autonomous episomally replicating gene transfer vectors which additionally provide nuclear matrix retention functions. Prolonged expression of a LacZ reporter gene and recombinant human dystrophin was shown using EBV-based plasmid vectors transfected into C2C12 mouse myoblast and myotube cultures. Intramuscular injection of EBV-based dystrophin expression plasmids into nude/mdx mice resulted in significant enhancement in the number of muscle fibres expressing recombinant dystrophin compared with a conventional vector. This effect was observed for over 10 weeks after a single administration. These results indicate the potential advantage of EBV-based expression vectors for focal plasmid-mediated gene augmentation therapy in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and a range of other gene therapeutic applications. (+info)
Local and distant transfection of mdx muscle fibers with dystrophin and LacZ genes delivered in vivo by synthetic microspheres.
Patterns of dystrophin and beta-galactosidase expression were examined in mdx mice after i.m. injections of synthetic microspheres (MF-2) loaded with full-length (pHSADy) or mini-dystrophin gene (pSG5dys) cDNA plasmid constructs or with LacZ marker gene (pCMV-LacZ). A single injection of 25 microg pHSADy into quadriceps femoris muscle resulted in 6.8% of dystrophin positive myofibers (DPM) in a given muscle; 8.4% of DPM in glutaeus muscle and 4.3% of DPM in quadriceps femoris muscle of contralateral limb on day 21 after exposure compared with only 0.6% DPM in intact (non-injected) mdx mice. A high proportion of DPM (17.6% and 10.8%, respectively) was registered in both injected and contralateral muscles after mini- gene cDNA administration. MF-2/dystrophin cDNA particles were detected by FISH analysis in about 60-70% of myofiber nuclei in muscles of injected and contralateral limbs 7 days after application. The presence of human dystrophin cDNA and its products in all skeletal muscles and in different internal organs was proven by PCR and RT-PCR analysis. Patches of beta-galactosidase expression were abundant in injected muscle, and frequent in the contralateral and other skeletal muscles as well as in diaphragm, heart and lungs. High levels of dystrophin cDNA expression, and an efficient distant transfection effect with preferential intranuclei inclusion of MF-2 vehicle, are very encouraging for the development of a new constructive strategy in gene therapy trials of DMD. (+info)