Isolation and characterization of neural stem cells from dystrophic mdx mouse

Tiziana Annese, Patrizia Corsi, Simona Ruggieri, Roberto Tamma, Christian Marinaccio, Sabrina Picocci, Mariella Errede, Giorgina Specchia, Annamaria De Luca, Antonella Frassanito, Maria Antonia Desantis, Angelo Vacca, Domenico Ribatti, Beatrice Nico

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is altered in mdx mouse, an animal model to study Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Our previous work demonstrated that perivascular glial endfeet control the selective exchanges between blood and neuropil as well as the BBB development and integrity; the alterations of dystrophin and dystrophin-associated protein complex (DAPs) in the glial cells of mdx mouse, parallel damages of the BBB and increase in vascular permeability. The aim of this study was to improve our knowledge about brain cellular components in the mdx mouse through the isolation, for the first time, of the adult neural stem cells (ANSCs). We characterized them by FACS, electron microscopy, confocal immunofluorescence microscopy, Real Time-PCR and western blotting, and we studied the expression of the DAPs aquaporin-4 (AQP4), potassium channel Kir4.1, α- and β-dystroglycan (αDG, βDG), α-syntrophin (αSyn), and short dystrophin isoform Dp71 proteins. The results showed that the mdx ANSCs expressed CD133 and Nestin receptor as the control ones, but showed a reduction in Notch receptor and altered cell proliferation with an increment in the apoptotic nuclei. Ultrastructurally, they appeared 50% size reduced compared to control ones, with a few cytoplasmic organelles. Moreover, the mdx ANSCs are devoid in full length dystrophin 427, and they expressed post-transcriptional reduction in the Dp71 in parallel with the ubiquitin proteasome activation, and decrement of DAPs proteins which appeared diffused in the cytoplasm and not polarized on the stem cells plasmamembrane, as prevalently observed in the controls. Overall, these results indicate that structural and molecular alterations affect the neural stem cells in the dystrophic brain, whose increased apoptosis and reduced Dp71 and DAPs proteins expression, together with loss in Dp427 dystrophin, could be responsible of the altered mdx glial maintenance and differentiation and consequent failure in the vessels barrier control occurring in the adult dystrophic brain.

Original languageEnglish
JournalExperimental Cell Research
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Nov 13 2015


  • Blood-brain barrier
  • Dystrophic mice
  • Dystrophin-associated proteins
  • Neural stem cells
  • Neurospheres

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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