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Open Access Administration of a Soluble Activin Type IIB Receptor Promotes the Transplantation of Human Myoblasts in Dystrophic Mice

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Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a recessive disease caused by a dystrophin gene mutation. Myoblast transplantation permits the introduction of the dystrophin gene into dystrophic muscle fibers. However, this strategy has so far produced limited results. Modulation of transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) superfamily signaling promotes skeletal muscle differentiation and growth and myogenic regeneration. We investigated the possibility that the combination of TGF-β superfamily signaling inhibition with myoblast transplantation might be an effective therapeutic approach in dystrophin-deficient patients. In vitro, blocking myostatin and other ligands with a soluble form of the extracellular domain of the activin IIB receptor (ActRIIB/Fc) upregulated the expression of myogenic differentiation factors and increased human myoblast fusion. In vivo, systemic inhibition of activin IIB receptor signaling by delivery of ActRIIB/Fc increased the success of the myoblast transplantation. This effect was further increased by forcing the mice to swim weekly to induce cycles of muscle degeneration and regeneration. Treatment of dystrophic mice with ActRIIB/Fc led to increased body weight, increased skeletal muscle mass, and improved myoblast transplantation. Thus, ActRIIB/Fc represents an effective therapeutic strategy for muscular dystrophies, and its effects are enhanced when combined with muscle exercise.

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Keywords: Activin receptor; Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD); Myoblast transplantation; Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) superfamily

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Unité de recherche en Génétique Humaine, Centre de recherche de CHUL, CHUQ, Faculté de médecine, Université Laval, Québec, Canada

Publication date: 2012-07-01

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.

    Cell Transplantation is now being published by SAGE. Please visit their website for the most recent issues.

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