Muscular dystrophies (MDs) consist of a genetically heterogeneous group of disorders, recessive or dominant, characterized by progressive skeletal muscle weakening. To date, no effective treatment is available. Experimental strategies pursuing muscle regeneration through the transplantation of stem cell preparations have brought hope to patients affected by this disorder. Efficacy has been demonstrated in recessive MD models through contribution of wild-type nuclei to the muscle fiber heterokaryon; however, to date, there has been no study investigating the efficacy of a cell therapy in a dominant model of MD. We have recently demonstrated that Pax3-induced embryonic stem (ES) cell-derived myogenic progenitors are able to engraft and improve muscle function in mdx mice, a recessive mouse model for Duchenne MD. To assess whether this therapeutic effect can be extended to a dominant type of muscle disorder, here we transplanted these cells into FRG1 transgenic mice, a dominant model that has been associated with facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy. Our results show that Pax3-induced ES-derived myogenic progenitors are capable of significant engraftment after intramuscular or systemic transplantation into Frg1 mice. Analyses of contractile parameters revealed functional improvement in treated muscles of male mice, but not females, which are less severely affected. This study is the first to use Frg1 transgenic mice to assess muscle regeneration as well as to support the use of a cell-based therapy for autosomal dominant types of MD.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank the generous support from the Dr. Bob and Jean Smith Foundation. The project described was also supported by Grant Number AR055299 to R.C.R.P. and Grant Number AR056129 to R.T., both from NIAMS at the National Institutes of Health. The monoclonal antibody to MHC was obtained from the Developmental Studies Hybridoma Bank developed under the auspices of the NICHD and maintained by the University of Iowa.
- Dominant disease
- Embryonic stem cells
- FRG1 mice
- Muscle differentiation
- Muscular dystrophy