Chronic Hypoxia Impairs Muscle Function in the Drosophila Model of Duchennes Muscular Dystrophy DMDReport as inadecuate

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Duchenne-s muscular dystrophy DMD is a severe progressive myopathy caused by mutations in the DMD gene leading to a deficiency of the dystrophin protein. Due to ongoing muscle necrosis in respiratory muscles late-stage DMD is associated with respiratory insufficiency and chronic hypoxia CH. To understand the effects of CH on dystrophin-deficient muscle in vivo, we exposed the Drosophila model for DMD dmDys to CH during a 16-day ascent to the summit of Mount Denali-McKinley 6194 meters above sea level. Additionally, dmDys and wild type WT flies were also exposed to CH in laboratory simulations of high altitude hypoxia. Expression profiling was performed using Affymetrix GeneChips® and validated using qPCR. Hypoxic dmDys differentially expressed 1281 genes, whereas the hypoxic WT flies differentially expressed 56 genes. Interestingly, a number of genes e.g. heat shock proteins were discordantly regulated in response to CH between dmDys and WT. We tested the possibility that the disparate molecular responses of dystrophin-deficient tissues to CH could adversely affect muscle by performing functional assays in vivo. Normoxic and CH WT and dmDys flies were challenged with acute hypoxia and time-to-recover determined as well as subjected to climbing tests. Impaired performance was noted for CH-dmDys compared to normoxic dmDys or WT flies rank order: Normoxic-WT ≈ CH-WT> Normoxic-dmDys> CH-dmDys. These data suggest that dystrophin-deficiency is associated with a disparate, pathological hypoxic stress responses and is more sensitive to hypoxia induced muscle dysfunction in vivo. We hypothesize that targeting-correcting the disparate molecular responses to hypoxia may offer a novel therapeutic strategy in DMD.

Author: Matias Mosqueira, Gabriel Willmann, Hannele Ruohola-Baker, Tejvir S. Khurana



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