Dmdmdx/Largemyd: a new mouse model of neuromuscular diseases useful for studying physiopathological mechanisms and testing therapies.
Martins PCM., Ayub-Guerrieri D., Martins-Bach AB., Onofre-Oliveira P., Malheiros JM., Tannus A., de Sousa PL., Carlier PG., Vainzof M.
Although muscular dystrophies are among the most common human genetic disorders, there are few treatment options available. Animal models have become increasingly important for testing new therapies prior to entering human clinical trials. The Dmd(mdx) mouse is the most widely used animal model for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), presenting the same molecular and protein defect as seen in humans with the disease. However, this mouse is not useful for clinical trials because of its very mild phenotype. The mouse model for congenital myodystrophy type 1D, Large(myd), harbors a mutation in the glycosyltransferase Large gene and displays a severe phenotype. To help elucidate the role of the proteins dystrophin and LARGE in the organization of the dystrophin-glycoprotein complex in muscle sarcolemma, we generated double-mutant mice for the dystrophin and LARGE proteins. The new Dmd(mdx)/Large(myd) mouse model is viable and shows a severe phenotype that is associated with the lack of dystrophin in muscle. We tested the usefulness of our new mouse model for cell therapy by systemically injecting them with normal murine mesenchymal adipose stem cells (mASCs). We verified that the mASCs were hosted in the dystrophic muscle. The new mouse model has proven to be very useful for the study of several other therapies, because injected cells can be screened both through DNA and protein analysis. Study of its substantial muscle weakness will also be very informative in the evaluation of functional benefits of these therapies.