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Am J Pathol. Jul 1989; 135(1): 27–32.
PMCID: PMC1880218

Dystrophin is expressed in mdx skeletal muscle fibers after normal myoblast implantation.


In mdx mice, the dystrophin gene of the X chromosome is defective and, as a result, immunoreactive dystrophin is undetectable in all muscle fibers of all animals of this highly inbred strain. This study showed that implantation of suspensions of clonal cultures of normal human myoblasts into different regions of quadriceps muscles of 6-to-10-day-old mdx mice or 60-day-old mdx mice (whose muscles have been crushed 4 days before implantation) results in the appearance of scattered fiber segments containing microscopically demonstrable immunoreactive dystrophin. In the animals that received the normal myoblast implantation in the prenecrotic stage of the disease (6 to 10 days of age), the dystrophin-positive fiber segments (demonstrated at ages 35, 45, and 60 days) escaped necrosis. This was determined by the absence of the characteristic chains of central nuclei, a reliable marker of prior necrosis in mdx muscle fibers. By heavy labeling of the nuclear DNA of the transplantable human myoblasts with H3-thymidine during culturing, and by sequential performance of an immunocytochemical staining for dystrophin and autoradiography on the same sections, some dystrophin-positive fiber segments were shown to contain radiolabeled myonuclei. It was concluded that nondystrophic myoblasts fused with host muscle fibers to form mosaic muscle fibers in which the normal dystrophin gene of the implanted myoblasts was expressed. This approach may be employed for the mitigation of the deleterious consequences of a gene defect in recessively inherited human muscle diseases such as Duchenne dystrophy.

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Selected References

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