Functional muscle recovery following dystrophin and myostatin exon splice modulation in aged mdx mice

Ngoc Lu-Nguyen, Arnaud Ferry, Frederick J Schnell, Gunnar J Hanson, Linda Popplewell, George Dickson, Alberto Malerba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a rare genetic disease affecting 1 in 3500-5000 newborn boys. It is due to mutations in the DMD gene with a consequent lack of dystrophin protein that leads to deterioration of myofibres and their replacement with fibro-adipogenic tissue. Out-of-frame mutations in the DMD gene can be modified by using antisense oligonucleotides (AONs) to promote skipping of specific exons such that the reading frame is restored and the resulting protein produced, though truncated, is functional. We have shown that AONs can also be used to knock down myostatin, a negative regulator of muscle growth and differentiation, through disruption of the transcript reading frame, and thereby enhance muscle strength. In young mdx mice, combined dystrophin and myostatin exon skipping therapy greatly improved DMD pathology, compared to the single dystrophin skipping approach. Here we show that in aged (>15-month-old) mdx mice, when the pathology is significantly more severe and more similar to the one observed in DMD patients, the effect of the combined therapy is slightly attenuated but still beneficial in improving the disease phenotype. These results confirm the beneficial outcome of the combination approach and support its translation into DMD clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3091-3100
Number of pages10
JournalHuman Molecular Genetics
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

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