Background: Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is the most common fatal form of muscular dystrophy characterized by striated muscle wasting and dysfunction. Patients with DMD have a very high incidence of heart failure, which is increasingly the cause of death in DMD patients. We hypothesize that in the in vivo system, the dystrophic cardiac muscle displays bioenergetic deficits prior to any functional or structural deficits. To address this we developed a complete non invasive 31P magnetic resonance spectroscopy (31P MRS) approach to measure myocardial bioenergetics in the heart in vivo. Methods and Results: Six control and nine mdx mice at 5 months of age were used for the study. A standard 3D-Image Selected In vivo Spectroscopy (3D-ISIS) sequence was used to provide complete gradient controlled three-dimensional localization for heart 31P MRS. These studies demonstrated dystrophic hearts have a significant reduction in PCr/ATP ratio compare to normal (1.59±0.13 vs 2.37±0.25, p<0.05). Conclusion: Our present study provides the direct evidence of significant cardiac bioenergetic deficits in the in vivo dystrophic mouse. These data suggest that energetic defects precede the development of significant hemodynamic or structural changes. The methods provide a clinically relevant approach to use myocardial energetics as an early marker of disease in the dystrophic heart. The new method in detecting the in vivo bioenergetics abnormality as an early non-invasive marker of emerging dystrophic cardiomyopathy is critical in management of patients with DMD, and optimized therapies aimed at slowing or reversing the cardiomyopathy.
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© 2015 Cui et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.