Altered extracellular matrix transcript expression and protein modulation in primary Duchenne muscular dystrophy myotubes

S. Zanotti, S. Saredi, A. Ruggieri, M. Fabbri, F. Blasevich, S. Romaggi, L. Morandi, M. Mora

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Extent of muscle fibrosis contributes to disease severity in muscular dystrophies. To investigate whether extracellular matrix (ECM) components contribute to the severe fibrosis observed in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) skeletal muscle, we quantitated several ECM components (transcripts and proteins) in primary DMD and control myotube cultures. We evaluated the fibrogenic transforming growth factor- β1 (TGF-β1); the small pleiotropic proteoglycan decorin, involved in collagen fibrillogenesis and TGF-β1 modulation; metalloproteinases MMP-2 and MMP-9; tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinase (TIMP) 1, 2 and 3; collagens I and VI; and the tissue factor myostatin that inhibits muscle growth. Dystrophic myotube cultures had significantly lower levels of decorin mRNA, as also observed in DMD muscle biopsies, and significantly higher levels of TGF-β1, myostatin, and collagens I and VI. MMP-2, TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 transcript levels were also significantly increased in DMD, but MMP-9 and TIMP-3 transcripts were unchanged. By zymography, MMP-2 activity was significantly higher in DMD than control. Protein levels were similar in DMD and controls but myostatin protein was significantly increased in DMD. We have found that transcript expression and protein modulation of several ECM components is altered in DMD muscle cells in vitro, indicating that these cells contribute fundamentally to the pathological process, since the inflammation and degeneration characterizing DMD muscle in vivo are presumably absent in culture. Our findings that myostatin-potent inhibitor of satellite cell activation and muscle renewal - is increased, and that decorin-binder and downregulator of TGFβ1 and myostatin - is decreased, may have implications for DMD therapy to reduce muscle fibrosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)615-624
Number of pages10
JournalMatrix Biology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007


  • Duchenne muscular dystrophy
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Fibrosis
  • Muscle cell cultures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Altered extracellular matrix transcript expression and protein modulation in primary Duchenne muscular dystrophy myotubes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this