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Hum Mol Genet. 2011 Jun 15;20(12):2333-43. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddr126. Epub 2011 Mar 26.

Muscle-specific expression of insulin-like growth factor 1 improves outcome in Lama2Dy-w mice, a model for congenital muscular dystrophy type 1A.

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Department of Health Sciences, Boston University, 635 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


MDC1A, the second most prevalent form of congenital muscular dystrophy, results from laminin-α2 chain deficiency. This disease is characterized by extensive muscle wasting that results in extremely weak skeletal muscles. A large percentage of children with MDC1A are faced with respiratory as well as ambulatory difficulties. We investigated the effects of overexpressing insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) as a potential therapeutic target for the disease in the Lama2(Dy-w) mouse, a model that closely resembles human MDC1A. IGF-1 transgenic Lama2(Dy-w) mice showed increased survivability, body weight and muscle weight. In addition, these mice showed better ability to stand up on their hind limbs: a typical exploratory behavior seen in healthy mice. Histology and immunohistochemistry analyses revealed increased regenerative capacity and proliferation in IGF-1 transgenic Lama2(Dy-w) muscles. Western blot analysis showed increased phosphorylation of Akt and ERK1/2, both known to enhance myogenesis. Additionally, we saw increases in the expression of the regeneration markers MyoD, myogenin and embryonic myosin (myosin heavy chain 3, MYH3). We conclude that overexpression of IGF-1 in Lama2(Dy-w) mice increases lifespan and improves their overall wellbeing mainly through the restoration of impaired muscle regeneration, as fibrosis or inflammation was not impacted by IGF-1 in this disease model. Our results demonstrate that IGF-1 has a promising therapeutic potential in the treatment of MDC1A.

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