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J Immunol. 2005 Nov 1;175(9):6219-25.

Increased susceptibility to complement attack due to down-regulation of decay-accelerating factor/CD55 in dysferlin-deficient muscular dystrophy.

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Myology Research Group, Department of Neurology, Charité University Hospital, Berlin, Germany.


Dysferlin is expressed in skeletal and cardiac muscles. However, dysferlin deficiency results in skeletal muscle weakness, but spares the heart. We compared intraindividual mRNA expression profiles of cardiac and skeletal muscle in dysferlin-deficient SJL/J mice and found down-regulation of the complement inhibitor, decay-accelerating factor/CD55, in skeletal muscle only. This finding was confirmed on mRNA and protein levels in two additional dysferlin-deficient mouse strains, A/J mice and Dysf-/- mice, as well as in patients with dysferlin-deficient muscular dystrophy. In vitro, the absence of CD55 led to an increased susceptibility of human myotubes to complement attack. Evidence is provided that decay-accelerating factor/CD55 is regulated via the myostatin-SMAD pathway. In conclusion, a novel mechanism of muscle fiber injury in dysferlin-deficient muscular dystrophy is demonstrated, possibly opening therapeutic avenues in this to date untreatable disorder.

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