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Pharmacological control of cellular calcium handling in dystrophic skeletal muscle

Urs T Ruegg, Valérie Nicolas-Métral, Corinne Challet, Katy Bernard-Hélary, Olivier M Dorchies, Stéphanie Wagner, Timo M Buetler
Neuromuscular Disorders: NMD 2002, 12: S155-61
12206810
Duchenne muscular dystrophy arises due to the lack of the cytoskeletal protein dystrophin. In Duchenne muscular dystrophy muscle, the lack of dystrophin is accompanied by alterations in the dystrophin-glycoprotein complex. We and others have found that the absence of dystrophin in cells of the Duchenne muscular dystrophy animal model, the mdx mouse, leads to elevated Ca(2+) influx and cytosolic Ca(2+) concentrations when exposed to stress. We have also shown that alpha-methylprednisolone, the only drug used successfully in the therapy of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and creatine lowered cytosolic Ca(2+) levels in mdx myotubes. It is likely that chronic elevation of [Ca(2+)] in the cytosol in response to stress is an initiating event for apoptosis and/or necrosis in Duchenne muscular dystrophy or mdx muscle and that alterations in mitochondrial function and metabolism are involved. Other cellular signalling pathways (e.g. nitric oxide) might also be affected.

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