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Neuromuscul Disord. 2007 Mar;17(3):209-20. Epub 2007 Feb 14.

Postnatal overexpression of the CT GalNAc transferase inhibits muscular dystrophy in mdx mice without altering muscle growth or neuromuscular development: evidence for a utrophin-independent mechanism.

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  • 1Center for Gene Therapy, Columbus Children's Research Institute, Department of Pediatrics, Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health, 700 Children's Drive, Columbus, OH 43205, USA.


Overexpression of the cytotoxic T cell (CT) GalNAc transferase (Galgt2) in the skeletal muscles of transgenic mdx mice has been reported to inhibit the development of muscular dystrophy. The profound effect of Galgt2 on muscular dystrophy in transgenic mice, where overexpression is begins from embryonic stages, is complicated by its additional effects on muscle growth and neuromuscular structure. Here, we use adeno-associated virus (AAV) to show that overexpression of Galgt2 in skeletal myofibers in the early postnatal period is equally effective in inhibiting muscular dystrophy, but that it does so without altering muscle growth or neuromuscular structure. Unlike embryonic overexpression, postnatal overexpression of Galgt2 did not reproducibly increase the expression of utrophin, synaptic laminins, or dystrophin-associated glycoproteins along infected myofibers. Moreover, Galgt2 overexpression inhibited muscular dystrophy to the same extent in utrophin-deficient mdx muscles as it did in utrophin-expressing mdx muscles. Thus, Galgt2 is a molecular target for therapy in DMD that can be utilized in a manner that separates its clinical benefit from its effects on development, and its clinical benefit is distinct from that achieved by utrophin.

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