Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mighty mice are less susceptible to muscular dystrophy gene’s effects

26.11.2002


The Johns Hopkins scientists who first discovered that knocking out a particular muscle gene results in "mighty mice" now report that it also softens the effects of a genetic mutation that causes muscular dystrophy.



The findings, scheduled for the December issue of the Annals of Neurology and currently online, build support for the idea that blocking the activity of that gene, known as myostatin, may one day help treat humans with degenerative muscle diseases.

Working with mice carrying the genetic mutation that causes Duchenne muscular dystrophy in humans, the scientists discovered that mice without the gene for myostatin had less physical damage to their muscles and were stronger than other mice with the Duchenne mutation.


"’Knocking out’ the myostatin gene isn’t possible for treating patients, but blocking the myostatin protein might be," says senior investigator Se-Jin Lee, M.D., Ph.D., professor of molecular biology and genetics at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. "However, myostatin still needs to be studied in people to see if it has the same role in our muscles as it has in mice."

The researchers caution that, even if myostatin does limit muscle growth in people, blocking it would not cure muscular dystrophy or any other degenerative muscle condition because the underlying cause of disease would be unchanged.

"However, increasing muscle mass and strength by blocking myostatin could conceivably delay progression or improve quality of life," notes first author Kathryn Wagner, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of neurology at Hopkins.

The Hopkins team bred mice without the myostatin gene with mice carrying the genetic mutation that causes Duchenne muscular dystrophy in humans. Muscular dystrophy mice completely lacking myostatin were more muscular and stronger than those with myostatin at 3, 6 and 9 months of age, the researchers report. Perhaps most importantly, their muscle tissue appeared to be healthier.

Duchenne muscular dystrophy is the most common muscular dystrophy and the most common inherited lethal disease of childhood, affecting 1 in 3,500 live male births. (The genetic mutation that causes it is found on the X chromosome, and so is "covered up" in girls, who have two X chromosomes.) There’s no good treatment at this time, and few patients survive into adulthood.

Early in the disease in humans, the regenerative capacity of stem cells in muscle, known as satellite cells, keep up with the damage, but eventually the damaging factors win. The result is not just loss of muscle, but also its replacement with non-muscle tissues, essentially scar tissue and fat.

This scarring process, called fibrosis, is also seen in mice with the muscular dystrophy-causing mutation. The Hopkins team reports that loss of myostatin function significantly reduced the amount of fibrosis, suggesting that the muscle regenerative process was improved.

The Hopkins scientists hope to unravel the mechanism of muscle regeneration in mice with and without myostatin, possibly revealing even better targets for improving the process. They also plan to use special genetic manipulations to turn off the myostatin gene in adult mice, rather than at conception, to see if losing myostatin later in the course of muscular dystrophy is also beneficial.

Authors on the study are Wagner, Lee, Alexandra McPherron and Nicole Winik, all of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Funding was provided by the National Institutes of Health, the Duchenne Parent Project, and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Myostatin was licensed by The Johns Hopkins University to MetaMorphix, Inc., and sublicensed to Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Lee and McPherron are entitled to a share of sales royalty received by the University from sales of this factor. Lee, McPherron and the University own MetaMorphix stock, which is subject to certain restrictions under University policy. Lee is a paid consultant to MetaMorphix. The terms of these arrangements are being managed by the University in accordance with its conflict of interest policies.

Media Contact: Joanna Downer 410-614-5105
Email: jdowner1@jhmi.edu

Joanna Downer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/abstract/99519627/START

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH

nachricht Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>