There is currently no effective treatment except palliative care for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), although personalized treatments such as exon skipping, stop codon read-through, and viral-based gene therapies are making progress. Patients present with skeletal muscle pathology, but most also show cardiomyopathy by the age of 10. A systemic therapeutic approach is needed that treats the heart and skeletal muscle defects in all patients. The dystrophin-related protein utrophin has been shown to compensate for the lack of dystrophin in the mildly affected BL10/mdx mouse. The purpose of this investigation was to demonstrate that AAV9-mediated micro-utrophin transgene delivery can not only functionally replace dystrophin in the heart, but also attenuate the skeletal muscle phenotype in severely affected D2/mdx mice. The data presented here show that utrophin can indeed alleviate the pathology in skeletal and cardiac muscle in D2/mdx mice.
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Kennedy TL, Guiraud S, Edwards B, et al. Micro-utrophin Improves Cardiac and Skeletal Muscle Function of Severely Affected D2/mdx Mice. Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev. 2018;11:92-105. Published 2018 Oct 16.