Cell surface and gene expression regulation molecules in dystrophinopathy: mdx vs. Duchenne
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is secondary to loss-of-function mutations in the dystrophin gene. The causes underlying the progression of DMD, differential muscle involvement, and the discrepancies in phenotypes among species with the same genetic defect are not understood. The mdx mouse, an animal model with dystrophin mutation, has a milder phenotype. This article reviews the available information on expression of signaling-related molecules in DMD and mdx. Extracellular matrix proteoglycans, growth factors, integrins, caveolin-3, and neuronal nitric oxide synthase expression do not show significant differences. Calcineurin is inconsistently activated in mdx, which is associated with lack of cardiomyopathy, compared to the permanent calcineurin activation in mdx/utrophin null mice that have a DMD-like cardiomyopathy. Levels of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and extracellular regulated kinases (ERKs) differ among mdx and DMD. Further work is needed to identify the point of discrepancy in these signaling molecules' pathways in dystrophynopathies.