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Neurobiol Dis. 2011 Sep;43(3):635-41. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2011.05.012. Epub 2011 May 23.

Rescue of a dystrophin-like protein by exon skipping normalizes synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus of the mdx mouse.

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Univ Paris-Sud, Centre de Neurosciences Paris-Sud, UMR 8195, Orsay F-91405, France.


Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is caused by the absence of dystrophin, a protein that fulfills important functions in both muscle and brain. The mdx mouse model of DMD, which also lacks dystrophin, shows a marked reduction in γ-aminobutyric acid type A (GABA(A))-receptor clustering in central inhibitory synapses and enhanced long-term potentiation (LTP) at CA3-CA1 synapses of the hippocampus. We have recently shown that U7 small nuclear RNAs modified to encode antisense sequences and expressed from recombinant adeno-associated viral (rAAV) vectors are able to induce skipping of the mutated exon 23 and to rescue expression of a functional dystrophin-like product both in the muscle and nervous tissue in vivo. In the brain, this rescue was accompanied by restoration of both the size and number of hippocampal GABA(A)-receptor clustering. Here, we report that 25.2±8% of re-expression two months after intrahippocampal injection of rAAV reverses the abnormally enhanced LTP phenotype at CA3-CA1 synapses of mdx mice. These results suggests that dystrophin expression indirectly influences synaptic plasticity through modulation of GABA(A)-receptor clustering and that re-expression of the otherwise deficient protein in the adult can significantly alleviate alteration of neural functions in DMD.

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