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Am J Pathol. 2009 Nov;175(5):1817-23. doi: 10.2353/ajpath.2009.090107. Epub 2009 Oct 15.

Genetic manipulation of dysferlin expression in skeletal muscle: novel insights into muscular dystrophy.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati, USA.


Mutations in the gene DYSF, which codes for the protein dysferlin, underlie Miyoshi myopathy and limb-girdle muscular dystrophy 2B in humans and produce a slowly progressing skeletal muscle degenerative disease in mice. Dysferlin is a Ca(2+)-sensing, regulatory protein that is involved in membrane repair after injury. To assess the function of dysferlin in healthy and dystrophic skeletal muscle, we generated skeletal muscle-specific transgenic mice with threefold overexpression of this protein. These mice were phenotypically indistinguishable from wild-type, and more importantly, the transgene completely rescued the muscular dystrophy (MD) disease in Dysf-null A/J mice. The dysferlin transgene rescued all histopathology and macrophage infiltration in skeletal muscle of Dysf(-/-) A/J mice, as well as promoted the rapid recovery of muscle function after forced lengthening contractions. These results indicate that MD in A/J mice is autonomous to skeletal muscle and not initiated by any other cell type. However, overexpression of dysferlin did not improve dystrophic symptoms or membrane instability in the dystrophin-glycoprotein complex-lacking Scgd (delta-sarcoglycan) null mouse, indicating that dysferlin functionality is not a limiting factor underlying membrane repair in other models of MD. In summary, the restoration of dysferlin in skeletal muscle fibers is sufficient to rescue the MD in Dysf-deficient mice, although its mild overexpression does not appear to functionally enhance membrane repair in other models of MD.

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