Analyzing the type and frequency of patient-specific mutations that give rise to Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is an invaluable tool for diagnostics, basic scientific research, trial planning, and improved clinical care. Locus-specific databases allow for the collection, organization, storage, and analysis of genetic variants of disease. Here, we describe the development and analysis of the TREAT-NMD DMD Global database (http://umd.be/TREAT_DMD/). We analyzed genetic data for 7,149 DMD mutations held within the database. A total of 5,682 large mutations were observed (80% of total mutations), of which 4,894 (86%) were deletions (1 exon or larger) and 784 (14%) were duplications (1 exon or larger). There were 1,445 small mutations (smaller than 1 exon, 20% of all mutations), of which 358 (25%) were small deletions and 132 (9%) small insertions and 199 (14%) affected the splice sites. Point mutations totalled 756 (52% of small mutations) with 726 (50%) nonsense mutations and 30 (2%) missense mutations. Finally, 22 (0.3%) mid-intronic mutations were observed. In addition, mutations were identified within the database that would potentially benefit from novel genetic therapies for DMD including stop codon read-through therapies (10% of total mutations) and exon skipping therapy (80% of deletions and 55% of total mutations).
The establishment of human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) has enabled the production of in vitro, patient-specific cell models of human disease. In vitro recreation of disease pathology from patient-derived hiPSCs depends on efficient differentiation protocols producing relevant adult cell types. However, myogenic differentiation of hiPSCs has faced obstacles, namely, low efficiency and/or poor reproducibility. Here, we report the rapid, efficient, and reproducible differentiation of hiPSCs into mature myocytes. We demonstrated that inducible expression of myogenic differentiation1 (MYOD1) in immature hiPSCs for at least 5 days drives cells along the myogenic lineage, with efficiencies reaching 70–90%. Myogenic differentiation driven by MYOD1 occurred even in immature, almost completely undifferentiated hiPSCs, without mesodermal transition. Myocytes induced in this manner reach maturity within 2 weeks of differentiation as assessed by marker gene expression and functional properties, including in vitro and in vivo cell fusion and twitching in response to electrical stimulation. Miyoshi Myopathy (MM) is a congenital distal myopathy caused by defective muscle membrane repair due to mutations in DYSFERLIN. Using our induced differentiation technique, we successfully recreated the pathological condition of MM in vitro, demonstrating defective membrane repair in hiPSC-derived myotubes from an MM patient and phenotypic rescue by expression of full-length DYSFERLIN (DYSF). These findings not only facilitate the pathological investigation of MM, but could potentially be applied in modeling of other human muscular diseases by using patient-derived hiPSCs.
Background:Recent short-term clinical trials in patients with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) have indicated greater disease variability in terms of progression than expected. In addition, as average life-expectancy increases, reliable data is required on clinical progression in the older DMD population.Objective:To determine the effects of corticosteroids on major clinical outcomes of DMD in a large multinational cohort of genetically confirmed DMD patients.Methods:In this cross-sectional study we analysed clinical data from 5345 genetically confirmed DMD patients from 31 countries held within the TREAT-NMD global DMD database. For analysis patients were categorised by corticosteroid background and further stratified by age.Results:Loss of ambulation in non-steroid treated patients was 10 years and in corticosteroid treated patients 13 years old (p = 0.0001). Corticosteroid treated patients were less likely to need scoliosis surgery (p < 0.001) or ventilatory support (p < 0.001) and there was a mild cardioprotective effect of corticosteroids in the patient population aged 20 years and older (p = 0.0035). Patients with a single deletion of exon 45 showed an increased survival in contrast to other single exon deletions.Conclusions:This study provides data on clinical outcomes of DMD across many healthcare settings and including a sizeable cohort of older patients. Our data confirm the benefits of corticosteroid treatment on ambulation, need for scoliosis surgery, ventilation and, to a lesser extent, cardiomyopathy. This study underlines the importance of data collection via patient registries and the critical role of multi-centre collaboration in the rare disease field.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:The usefulness of contrast-enhanced 3D T2-FLAIR MR imaging for the evaluation of leptomeningeal diseases has not been systematically investigated. The purpose of this study was to assess the value added by contrast-enhanced 3D T2-FLAIR and MPRAGE sequences to conventional postcontrast T1-weighted images in the evaluation of leptomeningeal diseases. We also undertook in vitro studies in attempts to understand the consequences of our patient study.
A promising approach for treating Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is by autologous cell transplantation of myogenic stem cells transduced with a therapeutic expression cassette. Development of this method has been hampered by a low frequency of cellular engraftment, the difficulty of tracing transplanted cells, the rapid loss of autologous cells carrying marker genes that are unable to halt muscle necrosis and the difficulty of stable transfer of a large dystrophin gene into myogenic stem cells. We engineered a 5.7 kb miniDys-GFP fusion gene by replacing the dystrophin C-terminal domain (DeltaCT) with an eGFP coding sequence and removing much of the dystrophin central rod domain (DeltaH2-R19). In a transgenic mdx(4Cv) mouse expressing the miniDys-GFP fusion protein under the control of a skeletal muscle-specific promoter, the green fusion protein localized on the sarcolemma, where it assembled the dystrophin-glycoprotein complex and completely prevented the development of dystrophy in transgenic mdx(4Cv) muscles. When myogenic and other stem cells from these mice were transplanted into mdx(4Cv) recipients, donor cells can be readily identified in skeletal muscle by direct green fluorescence or by using antibodies against GFP or dystrophin. In mdx(4Cv) mice reconstituted with bone marrow cells from the transgenic mice, we monitored engraftment in various muscle groups and found the number of miniDys-GFP(+) fibers increased with time. We suggest that these transgenic mdx(4Cv) mice are highly useful for developing autologous cell therapies for DMD.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is an X-linked genetic disease, caused by the absence of the dystrophin protein. Although many novel therapies are under development for DMD, there is currently no cure and affected individuals are often confined to a wheelchair by their teens and die in their twenties/thirties. DMD is a rare disease (prevalence <5/10,000). Even the largest countries do not have enough affected patients to rigorously assess novel therapies, unravel genetic complexities, and determine patient outcomes. TREAT-NMD is a worldwide network for neuromuscular diseases that provides an infrastructure to support the delivery of promising new therapies for patients. The harmonized implementation of national and ultimately global patient registries has been central to the success of TREAT-NMD. For the DMD registries within TREAT-NMD, individual countries have chosen to collect patient information in the form of standardized patient registries to increase the overall patient population on which clinical outcomes and new technologies can be assessed. The registries comprise more than 13,500 patients from 31 different countries. Here, we describe how the TREAT-NMD national patient registries for DMD were established. We look at their continued growth and assess how successful they have been at fostering collaboration between academia, patient organizations, and industry.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is characterized in skeletal muscle by cycles of myofiber necrosis and regeneration leading to loss of muscle fibers and replacement with fibrotic connective and adipose tissue. The ongoing activation and recruitment of muscle satellite cells for myofiber regeneration results in loss of regenerative capacity in part due to proliferative senescence. We explored a method whereby new myoblasts could be generated in dystrophic muscles by transplantation of primary fibroblasts engineered to express a micro-dystrophin/enhanced green fluorescent protein (muDys/eGFP) fusion gene together with a tamoxifen-inducible form of the myogenic regulator MyoD [MyoD-ER(T)]. Fibroblasts isolated from mdx(4cv) mice, a mouse model for DMD, were efficiently transduced with lentiviral vectors expressing muDys/eGFP and MyoD-ER(T) and underwent myogenic conversion when exposed to tamoxifen. These cells could also be induced to differentiate into muDys/eGFP-expressing myocytes and myotubes. Transplantation of transduced mdx(4cv) fibroblasts into mdx(4cv) muscles enabled tamoxifen-dependent regeneration of myofibers that express muDys. This lineage control method therefore allows replenishment of myogenic stem cells using autologous fibroblasts carrying an exogenous dystrophin gene. This strategy carries several potential advantages over conventional myoblast transplantation methods including: (i) the relative simplicity of culturing fibroblasts compared with myoblasts, (ii) a readily available cell source and ease of expansion and (iii) the ability to induce MyoD gene expression in vivo via administration of a medication. Our study provides a proof of concept for a novel gene/stem cell therapy technique and opens another potential therapeutic approach for degenerative muscle disorders.
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