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Hum Mol Genet. 1995 Aug;4(8):1251-8.

Expression of full-length and truncated dystrophin mini-genes in transgenic mdx mice.

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  • 1Department of Human Genetics, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor 48109-0618, USA.


Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy are caused by defects in the dystrophin gene, and are candidates for treatment by gene therapy. We have shown previously that overexpression of a full-length dystrophin cDNA prevents the development of dystrophic symptoms in mdx mice. We show here that this functional correction can be achieved by expressing the full-length muscle isoform at a lower level than is present in control animals. Gene therapy for DMD may necessitate the use of truncated dystrophin mini-genes to accommodate the limited cloning capacity of current-generation viral delivery vectors. We have constructed both murine and human mini-genes deleted for exons 17-48, and have demonstrated that expression of either mini-gene can almost completely prevent the development of dystrophic symptoms in transgenic mdx mice. These results suggest that viral-mediated expression of moderate levels of a truncated dystrophin could be an effective treatment for DMD.

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