ResearchPad - muscular-dystrophies https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Single-nucleus RNA-seq identifies divergent populations of FSHD2 myotube nuclei]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14649 Although misexpression of DUX4 has been known as the major cause in FSHD, it is lowly expressed in patient samples and analysis of the consequences of DUX4 expression has largely relied on artificial overexpression. Here, we took advantage of recent methodological advances to observe native DUX4 expression at the single-nucleus level in FSHD2 patient-derived myotubes. Using single-nucleus RNA-seq (snRNA-seq), we were able to detect endogenous DUX4-expressing nuclei and the extent of spreading of DUX4-target gene expression across many nuclei. Our highly sensitive snRNA-seq method further allowed us to identify two populations of FSHD myotube nuclei with distinct transcriptional profiles. One is highly enriched with DUX4 and target genes (FSHD-Hi) while the other has sparser DUX4 and FSHD-induced genes expressed (FSHD-Lo), reflecting two potentially different pathological states of patient myotubes. We observed a set of transcription factors specifically upregulated in FSHD-Hi myotube nuclei associated with the cell cycle, and significant upregulation of DUX4 paralog DUXA that contributes to further upregulation of DUX4 target genes. We propose that transcription factors downstream of DUX4 may amplify DUX4 signal and thus act to perpetuate FSHD.

]]>
<![CDATA[Accelerometric outcomes of motor function related to clinical evaluations and muscle involvement in dystrophic dogs]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c1966cad5eed0c484b52e13

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is an X-linked muscle disorder characterized by primary muscle degeneration. Patients with DMD reveal progressive muscle weakness leading to ambulatory dysfunction. Novel outcome measures are needed for more sensitive evaluation of therapeutic effects in clinical trials. Multiple parameters of acceleration and angular velocity are used as efficient indicators to quantify the motion of subjects, and these parameters have been recently applied for evaluation of motor function in DMD. In the present study, we evaluated gait in a dystrophic dog model, CXMDJ, by measuring three-axial acceleration and angular velocity over the course of months. Hybrid sensors were placed on the dorsal thoracic and lumbar regions of dogs to detect a wide range of acceleration (±8 G) and angular velocity (±1000 degrees per second). Multiple parameters showed lower values in dystrophic dogs compared to wild-type (WT) dogs, and declined over the course of months. Acceleration magnitude (AM) at the thoracic region in dystrophic dogs was prominently lower compared with WT dogs, even at the age of 2 months, the onset of muscle weakness, whereas AM at the lumbar region drastically declined throughout the disease course. The angular velocity index in the vertical direction in the lumbar region increased in dystrophic dogs, suggesting waddling at the girdle. These parameters also accordingly decreased with exacerbation of clinical manifestations and a decrease in spontaneous locomotor activity. The AM of dystrophic dogs was analyzed with magnetic resonance imaging to look for a correlation with crus muscle involvement. Results showed that acceleration and angular velocity are multifaceted kinematic indices that can be applied to assess outcomes in clinical trials for hereditary neuromuscular disorders including DMD.

]]>
<![CDATA[Deregulated MicroRNAs in Myotonic Dystrophy Type 2]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9ddab0ee8fa60b686c0

Myotonic Dystrophy Type-2 (DM2) is an autosomal dominant disease caused by the expansion of a CCTG tetraplet repeat. It is a multisystemic disorder, affecting skeletal muscles, the heart, the eye, the central nervous system and the endocrine system. Since microRNA (miRNA) expression is disrupted in Myotonic Dystrophy Type-1 and many other myopathies, miRNAs deregulation was studied in skeletal muscle biopsies of 13 DM2 patients and 13 controls. Eleven miRNAs were deregulated: 9 displayed higher levels compared to controls (miR-34a-5p, miR-34b-3p, miR-34c-5p, miR-146b-5p, miR-208a, miR-221-3p and miR-381), while 4 were decreased (miR-125b-5p, miR-193a-3p, miR-193b-3p and miR-378a-3p). To explore the relevance of DM2 miRNA deregulation, the predicted interactions between miRNA and mRNA were investigated. Global gene expression was analyzed in DM2 and controls and bioinformatic analysis identified more than 1,000 miRNA/mRNA interactions. Pathway and function analysis highlighted the involvement of the miRNA-deregulated mRNAs in multiple aspects of DM2 pathophysiology. In conclusion, the observed miRNA dysregulations may contribute to DM2 pathogenetic mechanisms.

]]>
<![CDATA[Dystrophin Is Required for the Normal Function of the Cardio-Protective KATP Channel in Cardiomyocytes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db3bab0ee8fa60bd4d2b

Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy patients often develop a cardiomyopathy for which the pathogenesis is still unknown. We have employed the murine animal model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (mdx), which develops a cardiomyopathy that includes some characteristics of the human disease, to study the molecular basis of this pathology. Here we show that the mdx mouse heart has defects consistent with alteration in compounds that regulate energy homeostasis including a marked decrease in creatine-phosphate (PC). In addition, the mdx heart is more susceptible to anoxia than controls. Since the cardio-protective ATP sensitive potassium channel (KATP) complex and PC have been shown to interact we investigated whether deficits in PC levels correlate with other molecular events including KATP ion channel complex presence, its functionality and interaction with dystrophin. We found that this channel complex is present in the dystrophic cardiac cell membrane but its ability to sense a drop in the intracellular ATP concentration and consequently open is compromised by the absence of dystrophin. We further demonstrate that the creatine kinase muscle isoform (CKm) is displaced from the plasma membrane of the mdx cardiac cells. Considering that CKm is a determinant of KATP channel complex function we hypothesize that dystrophin acts as a scaffolding protein organizing the KATP channel complex and the enzymes necessary for its correct functioning. Therefore, the lack of proper functioning of the cardio-protective KATP system in the mdx cardiomyocytes may be part of the mechanism contributing to development of cardiac disease in dystrophic patients.

]]>
<![CDATA[A Technique for Performing Electrical Impedance Myography in the Mouse Hind Limb: Data in Normal and ALS SOD1 G93A Animals]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daa0ab0ee8fa60ba55b8

Objective

To test a method for performing electrical impedance myography (EIM) in the mouse hind limb for the assessment of disease status in neuromuscular disease models.

Methods

An impedance measuring device consisting of a frame with electrodes embedded within an acrylic head was developed. The head was rotatable such that data longitudinal and transverse to the major muscle fiber direction could be obtained. EIM measurements were made with this device on 16 healthy mice and 14 amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) animals. Repeatability was assessed in both groups.

Results

The technique was easy to perform and provided good repeatability in both healthy and ALS animals, with intra-session repeatability (mean ± SEM) of 5% ±1% and 12% ±2%, respectively. Significant differences between healthy and ALS animals were also identified (e.g., longitudinal mean 50 kHz phase was 18±0.6° for the healthy animals and 14±1.0° for the ALS animals, p = 0.0025).

Conclusions

With this simple device, the EIM data obtained is highly repeatable and can differentiate healthy from ALS animals.

Significance

EIM can now be applied to mouse models of neuromuscular disease to assess disease status and the effects of therapy.

]]>
<![CDATA[Rimmed Vacuoles in Becker Muscular Dystrophy Have Similar Features with Inclusion Myopathies]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da11ab0ee8fa60b79a78

Rimmed vacuoles in myofibers are thought to be due to the accumulation of autophagic vacuoles, and can be characteristic in certain myopathies with protein inclusions in myofibers. In this study, we performed a detailed clinical, molecular, and pathological characterization of Becker muscular dystrophy patients who have rimmed vacuoles in muscles. Among 65 Becker muscular dystrophy patients, we identified 12 patients who have rimmed vacuoles and 11 patients who have deletions in exons 45–48 in DMD gene. All patients having rimmed vacuoles showed milder clinical features compared to those without rimmed vacuoles. Interestingly, the rimmed vacuoles in Becker muscular dystrophy muscles seem to represent autophagic vacuoles and are also associated with polyubiquitinated protein aggregates. These findings support the notion that rimmed vacuoles can appear in Becker muscular dystrophy, and may be related to the chronic changes in muscle pathology induced by certain mutations in the DMD gene.

]]>
<![CDATA[A novel early onset phenotype in a zebrafish model of merosin deficient congenital muscular dystrophy]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db50ab0ee8fa60bdbd14

Merosin deficient congenital muscular dystrophy (MDC1A) is a severe neuromuscular disorder with onset in infancy that is associated with severe morbidities (particularly wheelchair dependence) and early mortality. It is caused by recessive mutations in the LAMA2 gene that encodes a subunit of the extracellular matrix protein laminin 211. At present, there are no treatments for this disabling disease. The zebrafish has emerged as a powerful model system for the identification of novel therapies. However, drug discovery in the zebrafish is largely dependent on the identification of phenotypes suitable for chemical screening. Our goal in this study was to elucidate novel, early onset abnormalities in the candyfloss (caf) zebrafish, a model of MDC1A. We uncovered and characterize abnormalities in spontaneous coiling, the earliest motor movement in the zebrafish, as a fully penetrant change specific to caf mutants that is ideal for future drug testing.

]]>
<![CDATA[Myogenic Reprogramming of Bone Marrow Derived Cells in a W41Dmdmdx Deficient Mouse Model]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daeaab0ee8fa60bbefd4

Lack of expression of dystrophin leads to degeneration of muscle fibers and infiltration of connective and adipose tissue. Cell transplantation therapy has been proposed as a treatment for intractable muscle degenerative disorders. Several reports have demonstrated the ability of bone-marrow derived cells (BMDC) to contribute to non-haematopoietic tissues including epithelium, heart, liver, skeletal muscle and brain following transplantation by means of fusion and reprogramming. A key issue is the extent to which fusion and reprogramming can occur in vivo, particularly under conditions of myogenic deterioration.

To investigate the therapeutic potential of bone marrow transplantation in monogenetic myopathy, green fluorescent protein-positive (GFP+) bone marrow cells were transplanted into non-irradiated c-kit receptor – deficient (W41) mdx mice. This model allows BMDC reconstitution in the absence of irradiation induced myeloablation. We provide the first report of BMDC fusion in a W41/Dmdmdx deficient mouse model.

In the absence of irradiation induced injury, few GFP+ cardiomyocytes and muscle fibres were detected 24 weeks post BMT. It was expected that the frequency of fusion in the hearts of W41Dmdmdx mice would be similar to frequencies observed in infarcted mice [1].

Although, it is clear from this study that individual cardiomyocytes with monogenetic deficiencies can be rescued by fusion, it is as clear that in the absence of irradiation, the formation of stable and reprogrammed fusion hybrids occurs, with the current techniques, at very low levels in non-irradiated recipients.

]]>
<![CDATA[A New Extensively Characterised Conditionally Immortal Muscle Cell-Line for Investigating Therapeutic Strategies in Muscular Dystrophies]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da26ab0ee8fa60b80cc6

A new conditionally immortal satellite cell-derived cell-line, H2K 2B4, was generated from the H2Kb-tsA58 immortomouse. Under permissive conditions H2K 2B4 cells terminally differentiate in vitro to form uniform myotubes with a myogenic protein profile comparable with freshly isolated satellite cells. Following engraftment into immunodeficient dystrophin-deficient mice, H2K 2B4 cells regenerated host muscle with donor derived myofibres that persisted for at least 24 weeks, without forming tumours. These cells were readily transfectable using both retrovirus and the non-viral transfection methods and importantly upon transplantation, were able to reconstitute the satellite cell niche with functional donor derived satellite cells. Finally using the Class II DNA transposon, Sleeping Beauty, we successfully integrated a reporter plasmid into the genome of H2K 2B4 cells without hindering the myogenic differentiation. Overall, these data suggest that H2K 2B4 cells represent a readily transfectable stable cell-line in which to investigate future stem cell based therapies for muscle disease.

]]>
<![CDATA[Skeletal Muscle NADPH Oxidase Is Increased and Triggers Stretch-Induced Damage in the mdx Mouse]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db3aab0ee8fa60bd490f

Recent studies have shown that oxidative stress contributes to the pathogenesis of muscle damage in dystrophic (mdx) mice. In this study we have investigated the role of NADPH oxidase as a source of the oxidative stress in these mice. The NADPH oxidase subunits gp91phox, p67phox and rac 1 were increased 2–3 fold in tibilais anterior muscles from mdx mice compared to wild type. Importantly, this increase occurred in 19 day old mice, before the onset of muscle necrosis and inflammation, suggesting that NADPH oxidase is an important source of oxidative stress in mdx muscle. In muscles from 9 week old mdx mice, gp91phox and p67phox were increased 3–4 fold and NADPH oxidase superoxide production was 2 times greater than wild type. In single fibers from mdx muscle NADPH oxidase subunits were all located on or near the sarcolemma, except for p67phox,which was expressed in the cytosol. Pharmacological inhibition of NADPH oxidase significantly reduced the intracellular Ca2+ rise following stretched contractions in mdx single fibers, and also attenuated the loss of muscle force. These results suggest that NADPH oxidase is a major source of reactive oxygen species in dystrophic muscle and its enhanced activity has a stimulatory effect on stretch-induced Ca2+ entry, a key mechanism for muscle damage and functional impairment.

]]>
<![CDATA[Genetic Overlap between Apparently Sporadic Motor Neuron Diseases]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9e4ab0ee8fa60b6a963

Progressive muscular atrophy (PMA) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are devastating motor neuron diseases (MNDs), which result in muscle weakness and/or spasticity. We compared mutation frequencies in genes known to be associated with MNDs between patients with apparently sporadic PMA and ALS. A total of 261 patients with adult-onset sporadic PMA, patients with sporadic ALS, and control subjects of Dutch descent were obtained at national referral centers for neuromuscular diseases in The Netherlands. Sanger sequencing was used to screen these subjects for mutations in the coding regions of superoxide dismutase-1 (SOD1), angiogenin (ANG), fused in sarcoma/translated in liposarcoma (FUS/TLS), TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TARDBP), and multivesicular body protein 2B (CHMP2B). In our cohort of PMA patients we identified two SOD1 mutations (p.D90A, p.I113T), one ANG mutation (p.K17I), one FUS/TLS mutation (p.R521H), one TARDBP mutation (p.N352S), and one novel CHMP2B mutation (p.R69Q). The mutation frequency of these genes was similar in sporadic PMA (2.7%) and ALS (2.0%) patients, and therefore, our findings demonstrate a genetic overlap between apparently sporadic PMA and ALS.

]]>
<![CDATA[Inhibition of Glycogen Synthase Kinase-3β Attenuates Glucocorticoid-Induced Suppression of Myogenic Differentiation In Vitro]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da14ab0ee8fa60b7ab91

Glucocorticoids are the only therapy that has been demonstrated to alter the progress of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), the most common muscular dystrophy in children. However, glucocorticoids disturb skeletal muscle metabolism and hamper myogenesis and muscle regeneration. The mechanisms involved in the glucocorticoid-mediated suppression of myogenic differentiation are not fully understood. Glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β) is considered to play a central role as a negative regulator in myogenic differentiation. Here, we showed that glucocorticoid treatment during the first 48 h in differentiation medium decreased the level of phosphorylated Ser9-GSK-3β, an inactive form of GSK-3β, suggesting that glucocorticoids affect GSK-3β activity. We then investigated whether GSK-3β inhibition could regulate glucocorticoid-mediated suppression of myogenic differentiation in vitro. Two methods were employed to inhibit GSK-3β: pharmacological inhibition with LiCl and GSK-3β gene knockdown. We found that both methods resulted in enhanced myotube formation and increased levels of muscle regulatory factors and muscle-specific protein expression. Importantly, GSK-3β inhibition attenuated glucocorticoid-induced suppression of myogenic differentiation. Collectively, these data suggest the involvement of GSK-3β in the glucocorticoid-mediated impairment of myogenic differentiation. Therefore, the inhibition of GSK-3β may be a strategy for preventing glucocorticoid-induced muscle degeneration.

]]>
<![CDATA[Trendelenburg-Like Gait, Instability and Altered Step Patterns in a Mouse Model for Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy 2i]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9efab0ee8fa60b6dc8c

Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2i (LGMD2i) affects thousands of lives with shortened life expectancy mainly due to cardiac and respiratory problems and difficulty with ambulation significantly compromising quality of life. Limited studies have noted impaired gait in patients and animal models of different muscular dystrophies, but not in animal models of LGMD2i. Our goal, therefore, was to quantify gait metrics in the fukutin-related protein P448L mutant (P448L) mouse, a recently developed model for LGMD2i. The Noldus CatWalk XT motion capture system was used to identify multiple gait impairments. An average galloping body speed of 35 cm/s for both P448L and C57BL/6 wild-type mice was maintained to ensure differences in gait were due only to strain physiology. Compared to wild-type mice, P448L mice reach maximum contact 10% faster and have 40% more paw surface area during stance. Additionally, force intensity at the time of maximum paw contact is roughly 2-fold higher in P448L mice. Paw swing time is reduced in P448L mice without changes in stride length as a faster swing speed compensates. Gait instability in P448L mice is indicated by 50% higher instances of 3 and 4 paw stance support and conversely, 2-fold fewer instances of single paw stance support and no instance of zero paw support. This leads to lower variation of normal step patterns used and a higher use of uncommon step patterns. Similar anomalies have also been noted in muscular dystrophy patients due to weakness in the hip abductor muscles, producing a Trendelenburg gait characterized by “waddling” and more pronounced shifts to the stance leg. Thus, gait of P448L mice replicates anomalies commonly seen in LGMD2i patients, which is not only potentially valuable for assessing drug efficacy in restoring movement biomechanics, but also for better understanding them.

]]>
<![CDATA[Decreased Variability of the 6-Minute Walk Test by Heart Rate Correction in Patients with Neuromuscular Disease]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da0fab0ee8fa60b78fc1

Objective

The 6-minute walk test is widely used to assess functional status in neurological disorders. However, the test is subject to great inter-test variability due to fluctuating motivation, fatigue and learning effects. We investigated whether inter-test variability of the 6MWT can be reduced by heart rate correction.

Methods

Sixteen patients with neuromuscular diseases, including Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy, Charcot-Marie-Tooths, Dystrophia Myotonica and Congenital Myopathy and 12 healthy subjects were studied. Patients were excluded if they had cardiac arrhythmias, if they received drug treatment for hypertension or any other medical conditions that could interfere with the interpretation of the heart rate and walking capability. All completed three 6-minute walk tests on three different test-days. Heart rate was measured continuously.

Results

Successive standard 6-minute walk tests showed considerable learning effects between Tests 1 and 2 (4.9%; P = 0.026), and Tests 2 and 3 (4.5%; P = 0.020) in patients. The same was seen in controls between Tests 1 and 2 (8.1%; P = 0.039)). Heart rate correction abolished this learning effect.

Conclusion

A modified 6-minute walk test, by correcting walking distance with average heart rate during walking, decreases the variability among repeated 6-minute walk tests, and should be considered as an alternative outcome measure to the standard 6-minute walk test in future clinical follow-up and treatment trials.

]]>
<![CDATA[Transgenic Drosophila for Investigating DUX4 and FRG1, Two Genes Associated with Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy (FSHD)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db4bab0ee8fa60bda2e6

Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) is typically an adult onset dominant myopathy. Epigenetic changes in the chromosome 4q35 region linked to both forms of FSHD lead to a relaxation of repression and increased somatic expression of DUX4-fl (DUX4-full length), the pathogenic alternative splicing isoform of the DUX4 gene. DUX4-fl encodes a transcription factor expressed in healthy testis and pluripotent stem cells; however, in FSHD, increased levels of DUX4-fl in myogenic cells lead to aberrant regulation of target genes. DUX4-fl has proven difficult to study in vivo; thus, little is known about its normal and pathogenic roles. The endogenous expression of DUX4-fl in FSHD-derived human muscle and myogenic cells is extremely low, exogenous expression of DUX4-fl in somatic cells rapidly induces cytotoxicity, and, due in part to the lack of conservation beyond primate lineages, viable animal models based on DUX4-fl have been difficult to generate. By contrast, the FRG1 (FSHD region gene 1), which is linked to FSHD, is evolutionarily conserved from invertebrates to humans, and has been studied in several model organisms. FRG1 expression is critical for the development of musculature and vasculature, and overexpression of FRG1 produces a myopathic phenotype, yet the normal and pathological functions of FRG1 are not well understood. Interestingly, DUX4 and FRG1 were recently linked when the latter was identified as a direct transcriptional target of DUX4-FL. To better understand the pathways affected in FSHD by DUX4-fl and FRG1, we generated transgenic lines of Drosophila expressing either gene under control of the UAS/GAL4 binary system. Utilizing these lines, we generated screenable phenotypes recapitulating certain known consequences of DUX4-fl or FRG1 overexpression. These transgenic Drosophila lines provide resources to dissect the pathways affected by DUX4-fl or FRG1 in a genetically tractable organism and may provide insight into both muscle development and pathogenic mechanisms in FSHD.

]]>
<![CDATA[Glucocorticoid-Treated Mice Are an Inappropriate Positive Control for Long-Term Preclinical Studies in the mdx Mouse]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dab7ab0ee8fa60bad4f8

Background

Dmdmdx (mdx) mice are used as a genetic and biochemical model of dystrophin deficiency. The long-term consequences of glucocorticoid (GC) treatment on dystrophin-deficient skeletal and heart muscle are not yet known. Here we used systematic phenotyping to assess the long-term consequences of GC treatment in mdx mice. Our investigation addressed not only the effects of GC on the disease phenotype but also the question of whether GCs can be used as a positive control for preclinical drug evaluations.

Methods and Findings

We performed nine pre-clinical efficacy trials (treated N = 129, untreated N = 106) of different durations in 9-to-50-week-old dystrophic mdx mice over a 3-year time period using standardized methods. In all these trials, we used either 1 mg/kg body weight of prednisone or 5 mg/kg body weight of prednisolone as positive controls to compare the efficacy of various test drugs. Data from untreated controls and GC-treated mice in the various trials have been pooled and analyzed to assess the effects of GCs on dystrophin-deficient skeletal and cardiac muscles of mdx mice. Our results indicate that continuous GC treatment results in early (e.g., at 50 days) improvements in normalized parameters such as grip strength, motor coordination and maximal in vitro force contractions on isolated EDL muscle, but these initial benefits are followed by a progressive loss of muscle strength after 100 days. We also found a significant increase in heart fibrosis that is reflected in a significant deterioration in cardiac systolic function after 100 days of treatment.

Conclusion

Continuous administration of prednisone to mdx mice initially improves skeletal muscle strength, but further therapy result in deterioration of muscle strength and cardiac function associated with enhanced cardiac fibrosis. These results suggest that GCs may not serve as an appropriate positive control for long-term mdx mouse preclinical trials.

]]>
<![CDATA[Comprehensive Mutation Analysis for Congenital Muscular Dystrophy: A Clinical PCR-Based Enrichment and Next-Generation Sequencing Panel]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da5fab0ee8fa60b90995

The congenital muscular dystrophies (CMDs) comprise a heterogeneous group of heritable muscle disorders with often difficult to interpret muscle pathology, making them challenging to diagnose. Serial Sanger sequencing of suspected CMD genes, while the current molecular diagnostic method of choice, can be slow and expensive. A comprehensive panel test for simultaneous screening of mutations in all known CMD-associated genes would be a more effective diagnostic strategy. Thus, the CMDs are a model disorder group for development and validation of next-generation sequencing (NGS) strategies for diagnostic and clinical care applications. Using a highly multiplexed PCR-based target enrichment method (RainDance) in conjunction with NGS, we performed mutation detection in all CMD genes of 26 samples and compared the results with Sanger sequencing. The RainDance NGS panel showed great consistency in coverage depth, on-target efficiency, versatility of mutation detection, and genotype concordance with Sanger sequencing, demonstrating the test's appropriateness for clinical use. Compared to single tests, a higher diagnostic yield was observed by panel implementation. The panel's limitation is the amplification failure of select gene-specific exons which require Sanger sequencing for test completion. Successful validation and application of the CMD NGS panel to improve the diagnostic yield in a clinical laboratory was shown.

]]>
<![CDATA[DNA Methylation Analysis of the Macrosatellite Repeat Associated with FSHD Muscular Dystrophy at Single Nucleotide Level]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da33ab0ee8fa60b8564f

Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) is one of the most common inherited diseases of the skeletal muscle. It is characterized by asymmetric muscle weakness and variable penetrance. FSHD is linked to a reduction in copy number of the D4Z4 3.3 kb macrosatellite repeat, located in 4q35. This causes the epigenetic de-repression of FSHD candidate genes leading to disease. Nevertheless, the molecular mechanism responsible for silencing of FSHD candidate genes in healthy subjects is not fully understood. While a role for DNA methylation has been suggested, so far there is limited information regarding the methylation status of the 325 CpGs contained in each D4Z4 unit. Using a human/rodent monochromosomal hybrid cell line containing a single human chromosome 4, we performed an in depth analysis of DNA methylation for the majority of the CpGs inside D4Z4 at single nucleotide level. We found that D4Z4 is not uniformly methylated and that the level of DNA methylation does not correlate with the density of CpG dinucleotides. Moreover, in several D4Z4 regions characterized by near complete methylation, we found specific unmethylated CpGs. These elements are enriched in transcription factor binding sites that could be involved in muscle-specific D4Z4 activity. Our approach also detected differential methylation among different D4Z4 units, suggesting that the D4Z4 array is a mosaic of euchromatic and heterochromatic domains. Finally, we found that DNA methylation and histone de-acetylation are required to maintain FSHD candidate genes repressed. Taken together, our data underscore new players involved in the epigenetic regulation of the FSHD locus that could be targeted for therapeutic purposes.

]]>
<![CDATA[Contribution of Human Muscle-Derived Cells to Skeletal Muscle Regeneration in Dystrophic Host Mice]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db20ab0ee8fa60bcf1d3

Background

Stem cell transplantation is a promising potential therapy for muscular dystrophies, but for this purpose, the cells need to be systemically-deliverable, give rise to many muscle fibres and functionally reconstitute the satellite cell niche in the majority of the patient's skeletal muscles. Human skeletal muscle-derived pericytes have been shown to form muscle fibres after intra-arterial transplantation in dystrophin-deficient host mice. Our aim was to replicate and extend these promising findings.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Isolation and maintenance of human muscle derived cells (mdcs) was performed as published for human pericytes. Mdscs were characterized by immunostaining, flow cytometry and RT-PCR; also, their ability to differentiate into myotubes in vitro and into muscle fibres in vivo was assayed. Despite minor differences between human mdcs and pericytes, mdscs contributed to muscle regeneration after intra-muscular injection in mdx nu/nu mice, the CD56+ sub-population being especially myogenic. However, in contrast to human pericytes delivered intra-arterially in mdx SCID hosts, mdscs did not contribute to muscle regeneration after systemic delivery in mdx nu/nu hosts.

Conclusions/Significance

Our data complement and extend previous findings on human skeletal muscle-derived stem cells, and clearly indicate that further work is necessary to prepare pure cell populations from skeletal muscle that maintain their phenotype in culture and make a robust contribution to skeletal muscle regeneration after systemic delivery in dystrophic mouse models. Small differences in protocols, animal models or outcome measurements may be the reason for differences between our findings and previous data, but nonetheless underline the need for more detailed studies on muscle-derived stem cells and independent replication of results before use of such cells in clinical trials.

]]>
<![CDATA[Different Molecular Signatures in Magnetic Resonance Imaging-Staged Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy Muscles]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dadeab0ee8fa60bbad2c

Background

Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) is one of the most common muscular dystrophies and is characterized by a non-conventional genetic mechanism activated by pathogenic D4Z4 repeat contractions. By muscle Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) we observed that T2-short tau inversion recovery (T2-STIR) sequences identify two different conditions in which each muscle can be found before the irreversible dystrophic alteration, marked as T1-weighted sequence hyperintensity, takes place. We studied these conditions in order to obtain further information on the molecular mechanisms involved in the selective wasting of single muscles or muscle groups in this disease.

Methods

Histopathology, gene expression profiling and real time PCR were performed on biopsies from FSHD muscles with different MRI pattern (T1-weighted normal/T2-STIR normal and T1-weighted normal/T2-STIR hyperintense). Data were compared with those from inflammatory myopathies, dysferlinopathies and normal controls. In order to validate obtained results, two additional FSHD samples with different MRI pattern were analyzed.

Results

Myopathic and inflammatory changes characterized T2-STIR hyperintense FSHD muscles, at variance with T2-STIR normal muscles. These two states could be easily distinguished from each other by their transcriptional profile. The comparison between T2-STIR hyperintense FSHD muscles and inflammatory myopathy muscles showed peculiar changes, although many alterations were shared among these conditions.

Conclusions

At the single muscle level, different stages of the disease correspond to the two MRI patterns. T2-STIR hyperintense FSHD muscles are more similar to inflammatory myopathies than to T2-STIR normal FSHD muscles or other muscular dystrophies, and share with them upregulation of genes involved in innate and adaptive immunity. Our data suggest that selective inflammation, together with perturbation in biological processes such as neoangiogenesis, lipid metabolism and adipokine production, may contribute to the sequential bursts of muscle degeneration that involve individual muscles in an asynchronous manner in this disease.

]]>