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Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is an X-linked muscle-wasting disease caused by mutations in the dystrophin gene. DMD boys are wheelchair-bound around 12 years and generally survive into their twenties. There is currently no effective treatment except palliative care, although personalized treatments such as exon skipping, stop codon read-through, and viral-based gene therapies are making progress. Patients present with skeletal muscle pathology, but most also show cardiomyopathy by the age of 10. A systemic therapeutic approach is needed that treats the heart and skeletal muscle defects in all patients. The dystrophin-related protein utrophin has been shown to compensate for the lack of dystrophin in the mildly affected BL10/mdx mouse. The purpose of this investigation was to demonstrate that AAV9-mediated micro-utrophin transgene delivery can not only functionally replace dystrophin in the heart, but also attenuate the skeletal muscle phenotype in severely affected D2/mdx mice. The data presented here show that utrophin can indeed alleviate the pathology in skeletal and cardiac muscle in D2/mdx mice. These results endorse the view that utrophin modulation has the potential to increase the quality life of all DMD patients whatever their mutation.

Original publication




Journal article


Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev

Publication Date





92 - 105


AAV, D2/mdx, Duchenne, cardiac cine-MRI, cardiomyopathy, utrophin