source: Human Molecular Genetics
Rodino-Klapac LR, Janssen PM, Shontz KM, Canan B, Montgomery CL, Griffin D, Heller K, Schmelzer L, Handy C, Clark KR, Sahenk Z, Mendell JR, Kaspar BK
Pharmacologic strategies have provided modest improvement in the devastating muscle-wasting disease, Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Pre-clinical gene therapy studies have shown promise in the mdx mouse model; however, studies conducted after disease onset fall short of fully correcting muscle strength or protecting against contraction-induced injury. Here we examine the treatment effect on muscle physiology in aged dystrophic mice with significant disease pathology by combining two promising therapies: micro-dystrophin gene replacement and muscle enhancement with follistatin, a potent myostatin inhibitor. Individual treatments with micro-dystrophin and follistatin demonstrated marked improvement in mdx mice but were insufficient to fully restore muscle strength and response to injury to wild-type levels. Strikingly, when combined, micro-dystrophin/follistatin treatment restored force generation and conferred resistance to contraction-induced injury in aged mdx mice. Pre-clinical studies with miniature dystrophins have failed to demonstrate full correction of the physiological defects seen in mdx mice. Importantly, the addition of a muscle enhancement strategy with delivery of follistatin in combination with micro-dystrophin gene therapy completely restored resistance to eccentric contraction-induced injury and improved force. Eccentric contraction-induced injury is a pre-clinical parameter relevant to the exercise induced injury that occurs in DMD patients, and herein, we demonstrate compelling evidence for the therapeutic potential of micro-dystrophin/follistatin combinatorial therapy.
Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology Graduate Program, The Ohio State University, Columbus, USA; Center for Gene Therapy, The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, USA
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