Forskning ved Københavns Universitet - Københavns Universitet


The new frontier in muscular dystrophy research: booster genes

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More than 30 different forms of muscular dystrophy (MD) have been molecularly characterized and can be diagnosed, but progress toward treatment has been slow. Gene replacement therapy has met with great difficulty because of the large size of the defective genes and because of difficulties in delivering a gene to all muscle groups. Cell replacement therapy has also been difficult to realize. Will it even be possible to design specific therapy protocols for all MDs? Or is a more realistic goal to treat some of the secondary manifestations that are common to several forms of MD, such as membrane instability, necrosis, and inflammation, and to promote regeneration? As reviewed here, enhanced expression of a range of proteins provides a boost for degenerating dystrophic muscle in mouse models. Expression of a mini-agrin promotes basement membrane formation instead of laminin alpha2; integrin alpha7, GalNac transferase, and ADAM12 promote cell adhesion and muscle stability in the absence of dystrophin; calpastatin prevents muscle necrosis; and nitric oxide synthase prevents inflammation. ADAM12, IGF-I, and myostatin blockade promote regeneration and reduce fibrosis. One can envision numerous other candidate booster genes which encode proteins that promote survival and/or regeneration of the compromised muscle or proteins that affect post-translational modifications of critical proteins. Finally, fibrosis, which is the curse of many human diseases, may also be attacked. Once the mechanisms of the boosters are better understood, drugs may be developed to provide the boost to muscle. Some of the experiences in models of muscular dystrophy may inspire new approaches in other genetic degenerative diseases as well.
TidsskriftF A S E B Journal
Udgave nummer12
Sider (fra-til)1579-84
Antal sider6
StatusUdgivet - 1 sep. 2003

ID: 34325494