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Publication Detail
Changes in Myonuclear Number During Postnatal Growth – Implications for AAV Gene Therapy for Muscular Dystrophy
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Morgan J, Muntoni F
  • Publisher:
    IOS Press
  • Publication date:
  • Journal:
    Journal of Neuromuscular Diseases
  • Status:
  • Country:
  • Print ISSN:
  • PII:
  • Language:
  • Keywords:
    Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Skeletal muscle growth, adeno-associated virus, gene therapy, myonuclei, satellite cells
Adult skeletal muscle is a relatively stable tissue, as the multinucleated muscle fibres contain post-mitotic myonuclei. During early postnatal life, muscle growth occurs by the addition of skeletal muscle stem cells (satellite cells) or their progeny to growing muscle fibres. In Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which we shall use as an example of muscular dystrophies, the muscle fibres lack dystrophin and undergo necrosis. Satellite-cell mediated regeneration occurs, to repair and replace the necrotic muscle fibres, but as the regenerated muscle fibres still lack dystrophin, they undergo further cycles of degeneration and regeneration.AAV gene therapy is a promising approach for treating Duchenne muscular dystrophy. But for a single dose of, for example, AAV coding for dystrophin, to be effective, the treated myonuclei must persist, produce sufficient dystrophin and a sufficient number of nuclei must be targeted. This latter point is crucial as AAV vector remains episomal and does not replicate in dividing cells. Here, we describe and compare the growth of skeletal muscle in rodents and in humans and discuss the evidence that myofibre necrosis and regeneration leads to the loss of viral genomes within skeletal muscle. In addition, muscle growth is expected to lead to the dilution of the transduced nuclei especially in case of very early intervention, but it is not clear if growth could result in insufficient dystrophin to prevent muscle fibre breakdown. This should be the focus of future studies.
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