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Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is an X-linked muscle-wasting disease caused by mutations in the dystrophin gene. DMD boys are wheelchair-bound around 12 years and generally survive into their twenties. There is currently no effective treatment except palliative care, although personalized treatments such as exon skipping, stop codon read-through, and viral-based gene therapies are making progress. Patients present with skeletal muscle pathology, but most also show cardiomyopathy by the age of 10. A systemic therapeutic approach is needed that treats the heart and skeletal muscle defects in all patients. The dystrophin-related protein utrophin has been shown to compensate for the lack of dystrophin in the mildly affected BL10/mdx mouse. The purpose of this investigation was to demonstrate that AAV9-mediated micro-utrophin transgene delivery can not only functionally replace dystrophin in the heart, but also attenuate the skeletal muscle phenotype in severely affected D2/mdx mice. The data presented here show that utrophin can indeed alleviate the pathology in skeletal and cardiac muscle in D2/mdx mice. These results endorse the view that utrophin modulation has the potential to increase the quality life of all DMD patients whatever their mutation.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/j.omtm.2018.10.005

Type

Journal article

Journal

Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev

Publication Date

14/12/2018

Volume

11

Pages

92 - 105

Keywords

AAV, D2/mdx, Duchenne, cardiac cine-MRI, cardiomyopathy, utrophin