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Open Access Research

Angiotensin II type 1 receptor antagonists alleviate muscle pathology in the mouse model for laminin-α2-deficient congenital muscular dystrophy (MDC1A)

Sarina Meinen, Shuo Lin and Markus A Ruegg*

Author Affiliations

Biozentrum, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland

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Skeletal Muscle 2012, 2:18  doi:10.1186/2044-5040-2-18

Published: 3 September 2012

Abstract

Background

Laminin-α2-deficient congenital muscular dystrophy (MDC1A) is a severe muscle-wasting disease for which no curative treatment is available. Antagonists of the angiotensin II receptor type 1 (AT1), including the anti-hypertensive drug losartan, have been shown to block also the profibrotic action of transforming growth factor (TGF)-β and thereby ameliorate disease progression in mouse models of Marfan syndrome. Because fibrosis and failure of muscle regeneration are the main reasons for the severe disease course of MDC1A, we tested whether L-158809, an analog derivative of losartan, could ameliorate the dystrophy in dyW/dyW mice, the best-characterized model of MDC1A.

Methods

L-158809 was given in food to dyW/dyW mice at the age of 3 weeks, and the mice were analyzed at the age of 6 to 7 weeks. We examined the effect of L-158809 on muscle histology and on muscle regeneration after injury as well as the locomotor activity and muscle strength of the mice.

Results

We found that TGF-β signaling in the muscles of the dyW/dyW mice was strongly increased, and that L-158809 treatment suppressed this signaling. Consequently, L-158809 reduced fibrosis and inflammation in skeletal muscle of dyW/dyW mice, and largely restored muscle regeneration after toxin-induced injury. Mice showed improvement in their locomotor activity and grip strength, and their body weight was significantly increased.

Conclusion

These data provide evidence that AT1 antagonists ameliorate several hallmarks of MDC1A in dyW/dyW mice, the best-characterized mouse model for this disease. Because AT1 antagonists are well tolerated in humans and widely used in clinical practice, these results suggest that losartan may offer a potential future treatment of patients with MDC1A.

Keywords:
TGF-β; Smad2/3; Notexin; Skeletal muscle; Fibrosis; Muscle regeneration; losartan; Angiotensin II