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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Modification of the dystrophic phenotype after transient neonatal denervation: role of MHC isoforms.

While it recently has been demonstrated that it is possible to modify the phenotypic expression of murine dystrophy (dy/dy) (i.e., prevent myofiber loss) by subjecting the extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscle of 14-day-old dy/dy mice to transient neonatal denervation (Moschella and Ontell, 1987), the mechanism responsible for this phenomenon has not been determined. Since it has been suggested that the effects of dystrophy vary according to fiber type, the fiber type frequency in 100-day-old normal (+/+) and dy/dy EDL muscles subjected to transient neonatal denervation has been determined by immunohistochemical analysis of their myosin heavy chain (MHC) composition. This frequency has been compared with that found in the EDL muscles of 14- and 100-day-old unoperated +/+ and dy/dy mice, in order to determine whether the reinnervation of transiently denervated neonatal muscle results in a preponderance of fibers of the type that might be spared dystrophic deterioration. In unoperated dy/dy muscle there is a progressive decrease in the frequency and in the absolute number of fibers that express MHC2B, with 100-day-old dy/dy muscles having approximately 32% of the number of myofibers fibers containing MHC2B as is found in age-matched +/+ muscles. The number of fibers containing the other fast isoforms (MHC2A and MHC2X) is similar in +/+ and dy/dy muscles at this age, indicating that fibers with MHC2B are most affected by the dystrophic process. Reinnervation following transient neonatal denervation of both the +/+ and the dy/dy EDL muscles results in a similar decrease (approximately 62%) in the number of myofibers containing MHC2B and an increase in myofibers containing the other fast MHC isoforms (MHC2A and MHC2X). The selective effect of dy/dy on fibers containing MHC2B and the sparing of myofibers in transiently denervated dy/dy muscle (which contains a reduced frequency of fibers containing MHC2B) are consistent with, although not direct proof of, the hypothesis that alterations in the fiber type may play a role in the failure of myofibers in transiently denervated dy/dy muscles to undergo dystrophic deterioration. Evidence is presented suggesting that neurons that supply myofibers containing MHC2B may be at a selective disadvantage in their ability to reinnervate neonatally denervated muscles.[1]


  1. Modification of the dystrophic phenotype after transient neonatal denervation: role of MHC isoforms. Ontell, M.P., Moschella, M.C., Schiaffino, S., Butler-Browne, G., Whalen, R., Ontell, M. J. Neurobiol. (1992) [Pubmed]
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