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Myotonic ADR-MDX mutant mice show less severe muscular dystrophy than MDX mice

R Krämer, H Lochmüller, A Abicht, R Rüdel, H Brinkmeier
Neuromuscular Disorders: NMD 1998, 8 (8): 542-50
10093060
In Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and its murine model, the dystrophic mouse (MDX), the skeletal musculature lacks dystrophin. The presumed function of this cytoskeletal protein is to protect the sarcolemma against mechanical stress during muscle activity. To test this hypothesis in vivo, we bred a double mutant mouse that combines two genetic defects: the dystrophin-deficiency of the MDX mouse and the Cl- channel myotonia of the arrested development of righting response (ADR) mouse. We hypothesized that high mechanical muscle activity would aggravate muscular dystrophy in double mutant ADR-MDX mice. On the contrary, ADR-MDX mice showed fewer signs of muscle fiber necrosis and fibrosis than MDX mice at all ages. Plasma creatine kinase levels were slightly increased in ADR-MDX, but significantly lower when compared to MDX mice. Sections of ADR-MDX muscle showed a uniform pattern of oxidative muscle fibers. Similar findings have been obtained in dystrophin-positive ADR mice, they result from a complete fiber-type IIB to IIA transformation in myotonic muscle. Our results suggest that small, oxidative fibers of myotonic mice are less sensitive to dystrophin deficiency. Therefore, ADR-MDX mice develop less severe muscular dystrophy than MDX mice do, although their muscles are continually stressed. The new ADR-MDX double mutant mouse is the first animal model combining both a dystrophinopathy and a channelopathy. The results presented here give new insights into the pathomechanism of muscular dystrophy and may be helpful for the therapeutic management of DMD.

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