Calpain activation has been implicated in the disease pathology of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Inhibition of calpain has been proposed as a promising therapeutic target, which could lessen the protein degradation and prevent progressive fibrosis. At the same time, there are conflicting reports as to whether elevation of calpastatin, an endogenous calpain inhibitor, alters pathology. We compared the effects of pharmacological calpain inhibition in the mdx mouse using leupeptin and a proprietary compound (C101) that linked the inhibitory portion of leupeptin to carnitine (to increase uptake into muscle). Administration of C101 for 4 wk did not improve muscle histology, function, or serum creatine kinase levels in mdx mice. Mdx mice injected daily with leupeptin (36 mg/kg) for 6 mo also failed to show improved muscle function, histology, or creatine kinase levels. Biochemical analysis revealed that leupeptin administration caused an increase in m-calpain autolysis and proteasome activity, yet calpastatin levels were similar between treated and untreated mdx mice. These data demonstrate that pharmacological inhibition of calpain is not a promising intervention for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy due to the ability of skeletal muscle to counter calpain inhibitors by increasing multiple degradative pathways.
Modulation of transforming growth factor-? (TGF-?) signaling to promote muscle growth holds tremendous promise for the muscular dystrophies and other disorders involving the loss of functional muscle mass. Previous studies have focused on the TGF-? family member myostatin and demonstrated that inhibition of myostatin leads to muscle growth in normal and dystrophic mice. We describe a unique method of systemic inhibition of activin IIB receptor signaling via adeno-associated virus (AAV)-mediated gene transfer of a soluble form of the extracellular domain of the activin IIB receptor to the liver. Treatment of mdx mice with activin IIB receptor blockade led to increased skeletal muscle mass, increased force production in the extensor digitorum longus (EDL), and reduced serum creatine kinase. No effect on heart mass or function was observed. Our results indicate that activin IIB receptor blockade represents a novel and effective therapeutic strategy for the muscular dystrophies.
Myostatin inhibition is a promising therapeutic strategy to maintain muscle mass in a variety of disorders, including the muscular dystrophies, cachexia, and sarcopenia. Previously described approaches to blocking myostatin signaling include injection delivery of inhibitory propeptide domain or neutralizing antibodies.
Increased utrophin expression is known to reduce pathology in dystrophin-deficient skeletal muscles. Transgenic over-expression of PGC-1? has been shown to increase levels of utrophin mRNA and improve the histology of mdx muscles. Other reports have shown that PGC-1? signaling can lead to increased oxidative capacity and a fast to slow fiber type shift. Given that it has been shown that slow fibers produce and maintain more utrophin than fast skeletal muscle fibers, we hypothesized that over-expression of PGC-1? in post-natal mdx mice would increase utrophin levels via a fiber type shift, resulting in more slow, oxidative fibers that are also more resistant to contraction-induced damage. To test this hypothesis, neonatal mdx mice were injected with recombinant adeno-associated virus (AAV) driving expression of PGC-1?. PGC-1? over-expression resulted in increased utrophin and type I myosin heavy chain expression as well as elevated mitochondrial protein expression. Muscles were shown to be more resistant to contraction-induced damage and more fatigue resistant. Sirt-1 was increased while p38 activation and NRF-1 were reduced in PGC-1? over-expressing muscle when compared to control. We also evaluated if the use a pharmacological PGC-1? pathway activator, resveratrol, could drive the same physiological changes. Resveratrol administration (100 mg/kg/day) resulted in improved fatigue resistance, but did not achieve significant increases in utrophin expression. These data suggest that the PGC-1? pathway is a potential target for therapeutic intervention in dystrophic skeletal muscle.
Related JoVE Video
Journal of Visualized Experiments
What is Visualize?
JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.
How does it work?
We use abstracts found on PubMed and match them to JoVE videos to create a list of 10 to 30 related methods videos.
Video X seems to be unrelated to Abstract Y...
In developing our video relationships, we compare around 5 million PubMed articles to our library of over 4,500 methods videos. In some cases the language used in the PubMed abstracts makes matching that content to a JoVE video difficult. In other cases, there happens not to be any content in our video library that is relevant to the topic of a given abstract. In these cases, our algorithms are trying their best to display videos with relevant content, which can sometimes result in matched videos with only a slight relation.