Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is an X-linked recessive genetic disease in which the dystrophin coding for a membrane stabilizing protein is mutated. Recently, the vasculature has also shown to be perturbed in DMD and DMD model mdx mice. Recent DMD transcriptomics revealed the defects were correlated to a vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) signaling pathway. To reveal the relationship between DMD and VEGF signaling, mdx mice were crossed with constitutive (CAGCreERTM:Flt1LoxP/LoxP) and endothelial cell-specific conditional gene knockout mice (Cdh5CreERT2:Flt1LoxP/LoxP) for Flt1 (VEGFR1) which is a decoy receptor for VEGF. Here, we showed that while constitutive deletion of Flt1 is detrimental to the skeletal muscle function, endothelial cell-specific Flt1 deletion resulted in increased vascular density, increased satellite cell number and improvement in the DMD-associated phenotype in the mdx mice. These decreases in pathology, including improved muscle histology and function, were recapitulated in mdx mice given anti-FLT1 peptides or monoclonal antibodies, which blocked VEGF-FLT1 binding. The histological and functional improvement of dystrophic muscle by FLT1 blockade provides a novel pharmacological strategy for the potential treatment of DMD.
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article
- Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
- Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't