Dysregulation of matricellular proteins is an early signature of pathology in laminin-deficient muscular dystrophy

MDC1A is a congenital neuromuscular disorder with developmentally complex and progressive pathologies that results from a deficiency in the protein laminin alpha2. MDC1A is associated with a multitude of pathologies, including increased apoptosis, inflammation and fibrosis.

In order to assess and treat a complicated disease such as MDC1A, we must understand the natural history of the disease so that we can identify early disease drivers and pinpoint critical time periods for implementing potential therapies.

Results: In this study, we used the Lama2Dy-W mouse, the most commonly used mouse model of this disease, to characterize the early pathologies of MDC1A. We found that DyW mice show significantly impaired myogenesis and high levels of apoptosis as early as postnatal week 1.

We also saw a surge of inflammatory response at the first week, marked by high levels of infiltrating macrophages, nuclear factor kappaB activation, osteopontin expression and overexpression of inflammatory cytokines. Fibrosis markers and related pathways were also observed to be elevated throughout early postnatal development in these mice, including periostin, collagen and fibronectin gene expression, as well as transforming growth factor beta signaling.

Interestingly, fibronectin was found to be the predominant fibrous protein of the extracellular matrix in early postnatal development. Last, we observed upregulation in various genes related to angiotensin signaling.

Conclusions: Our results implicate the involvement of multiple signaling pathways in driving the earliest stages of pathology in DyW mice.

As opposed to classical dystrophies, such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy, the dysregulation of various matricellular proteins appears to be a distinct feature of the early progression of DyW pathology. On the basis of our results, we believe that therapies that may reduce apoptosis and stabilize the homeostasis of extracellular matrix proteins may have increased efficacy if started at a very early age.

Published on: 2014-07-02

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