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Insight Into Development Of Muscular Dystrophy Provided By New Mouse Model

Muscular dystrophy is a complicated set of in which affect the various proteins that contribute to a complex that is required for a structural bridge between and the extracellular matrix () that provides the physical and chemical environment required for their development and function. The affects of these genetic mutations in patients vary widely, even when the same is affected. In order to develop treatments for this disease, it is important to have an animal model that accurately reflects the course of the disease in humans. In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers at the University of Iowa report the development of a of Fukuyama’s muscular dystrophy that copies the pathology seen in the human form of the disease.

By removing the gene fukutin from mouse embryos at various points during development, researchers led by Kevin Campbell were able to determine that fukutin disrupts important modifications of dystrophin that prevent the muscle cells from attaching to the ECM. Disruption of the gene earlier in development led to a more severe form of the disease, suggesting that fukutin is important for muscle maturation. Disruptions in later stages of development caused a less severe form of the disease.

In a companion piece, Elizabeth McNally of the University of Chicago discusses the implications of this disease model for the development of new therapies to treat muscular dystrophy.

TITLE: Mouse fukutin deletion impairs dystroglycan processing and recapitulates muscular dystrophy


ACCOMPANYING COMMENTARY TITLE: The attachment disorders of muscle: failure to carb-load



Journal of Clinical Investigation