Biomolecules, Vol. 11, Pages 1504: Sertoli Cells Improve Myogenic Differentiation, Reduce Fibrogenic Markers, and Induce Utrophin Expression in Human DMD Myoblasts
Biomolecules doi: 10.3390/biom11101504
Maria Cristina Marchetti
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is an X-linked disease caused by mutations in DMD gene translating in lack of functional dystrophin and resulting in susceptibility of myofibers to rupture during contraction. Inflammation and fibrosis are critical hallmarks of DMD muscles, which undergo progressive degeneration leading to loss of independent ambulation in childhood and death by early adulthood. We reported that intraperitoneal injection of microencapsulated Sertoli cells (SeC) in dystrophic mice translates into recovery of muscle morphology and performance thanks to anti-inflammatory effects and induction of the dystrophin paralogue, utrophin at the muscle level, opening new avenues in the treatment of DMD. The aim of this study is to obtain information about the direct effects of SeC on myoblasts/myotubes, as a necessary step in view of a translational application of SeC-based approaches to DMD. We show that (i) SeC-derived factors stimulate cell proliferation in the early phase of differentiation in C2C12, and human healthy and DMD myoblasts; (ii) SeC delay the expression of differentiation markers in the early phase nevertheless stimulating terminal differentiation in DMD myoblasts; (iii) SeC restrain the fibrogenic potential of fibroblasts, and inhibit myoblast-myofibroblast transdifferentiation; and, (iv) SeC provide functional replacement of dystrophin in preformed DMD myotubes regardless of the mutation by inducing heregulin β1/ErbB2/ERK1/2-dependent utrophin expression. Altogether, these results show that SeC are endowed with promyogenic and antifibrotic effects on dystrophic myoblasts, further supporting their potential use in the treatment of DMD patients. Our data also suggest that SeC-based approaches might be useful in improving the early phase of muscle regeneration, during which myoblasts have to adequately proliferate to replace the damaged muscle mass.
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