Muscular Dystrophies

WNT7a Protein Boosts Muscle Repair

In experiments in mice, Michael Rudnicki, an MDA grantee at the Sprott Center for Stem Cell Research at Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI), and colleagues, found the WNT7a protein stimulates muscle repair by causing proliferation (an increase in number) of "satellite stem cells." They say the protein probably operates similarly in humans. The findings were published June 5, 2009, in the journal Cell Stem Cell.

Stem Cell Research Brings New Hope for Muscular Dystrophy Treatment

A discovery that strengthens the body’s ability to repair muscle tissue could lead to new treatments for people with muscular dystrophy and other degenerative muscle diseases.

Fighting Fires with Info

Nick Waneka recalls hanging around the fire house in his home town of Lafayette, Colo., from about the time he graduated from diapers. His dad was a volunteer fire fighter; his mom was in the department’s women’s auxiliary.

Now 29, he’s still hanging out at the fire house three days a week, eight hours a day, and he’d spend more time there if he could.

Kids’ Respiratory Needs

The proceedings of a symposium titled "Pulmonary Management of Pediatric Patients with Neuromuscular Disorders" have been published as a supplement to the May 2009 issue of the journal Pediatrics.

The symposium was held Feb. 20, 2008, at Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas, and was sponsored by MDA, as well as Respironics and Hill-Rom Services.

Topics, all of which pertain specifically to children with neuromuscular disorders, include

Utrophin Gets In

MDA grantee James Ervasti and colleagues at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in Minneapolis have found that a protein known as utrophin, injected into mice lacking the dystrophin protein and showing a disease resembling Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), conferred significant benefits.

The experiments Ervasti and colleagues describe online May 26, 2009, in PLoS Medicine, are the first to show benefit from the direct injection into DMD mice of utrophin protein, rather than utrophin genes or gene modifiers.

Fighting the Fire

A protein called osteopontin has been implicated as a cause of some of the detrimental inflammation and scarring ("fibrosis") of muscle tissue that takes place in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Eliminating osteopontin was beneficial to mice with a DMD-like disease, and the researchers concluded that reducing osteopontin should be investigated as a possible therapy for DMD.

DMD, MG Research: Spotlight on Prednisone

Some interesting findings about prednisone’s effect on behavior in DMD, and on drugs that may alter its usage in myasthenia gravis, were part of the 61st annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), held recently in Seattle.

DMD STUDY

Daily prednisone led to better behavior than weekly, high-dose prednisone

Biology Prize

On May 3, 2009, molecular biologist Louis Kunkel at Children's Hospital in Boston and Harvard University, and biophysicist Kevin Campbell at the University of Iowa, received the prestigious March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology. The prize includes a $250,000 cash award.

DMD: Restarting Muscle Development?

A protein called laminin 111 had a marked therapeutic effect in mice that lack the dystrophin protein and have a muscle disease resembling human Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), say researchers at the University of Nevada School of Medicine.

Patching the Membrane

Scientists in the United States and Japan say they've identified a previously unknown but crucial step in a natural muscle-cell repair process that could have implications for the treatment of muscular dystrophies, particularly those in which membrane defects are implicated.

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