Cardiac calcium handling in the mouse model of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

PhD Thesis

Woolf, Peter James. 2003. Cardiac calcium handling in the mouse model of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland.

Cardiac calcium handling in the mouse model of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

TypePhD Thesis
AuthorWoolf, Peter James
SupervisorHoey, Andrew
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages189

The dystrophinopathies are a group of disorders characterised by cellular absence of the membrane stabilising protein, dystrophin. Duchenne muscular dystrophy is the most severe disorder clinically. The deficiency of dystrophin, in the muscular dystrophy X-linked (mdx) mouse causes an elevation in intracellular calcium in cardiac myocytes. Potential mechanisms contributing to increased calcium include enhanced influx, sarcoplasmic reticular calcium release and\or reduced sequestration or sarcolemmal efflux. This dissertation examined the potential mechanisms that may contribute to an intracellular calcium overload in a murine model of muscular dystrophy. The general cardiomyopathy of the mdx myocardium was evident, with the left atria from mdx consistently producing less force than control atria. This was associated with delayed relaxation. The role of the L-type calcium channels mediating influx was initially investigated. Dihydropyridines had a lower potency in contracting left atria corresponding to a redued dihydropyridine receptor affinity in radioligand binding studies of mdx ventricular homogenates (P<0.05). This was associated with increased ventricular dihydropyridine receptor protein and mRNA levels (P<0.05). The function of the sarcoplasmic reticulum in terms of release and also sequestration of calcium via the sarco-endoplasmic reticulum ATPase were investigated. A lower force of contraction was evident in mdx left atria in response to a range of stimulation frequencies (P<0.05) and concentrations of extracellular calcium (P<0.05). However, in the presence of 1 nM Ryanodine to block sarcoplasmic reticular calcium release, increased stimulation frequency caused similar forces to those obtained in control mice suggesting enhanced calcium influx via L-type calcium channels in mdx. Rapid cooling contractures showed a reduced contracture in mdx compared to control in response to cooling. This suggests some dysfunction in SR storage, which may be associated with the delayed relaxation time. Concentration-response curves to inhibitors of the sarco-endoplasmic reticulum showed no difference in function of the enzyme responsible for calcium uptake into the sarcoplasmic reticulum. Although sarco-endoplasmic reticulum ATPase mRNA was upregulated, no functional benefit was evident. This study indicates that a deficiency of dystrophin leads to upregulation of L-type calcium channels that contribute to increased calcium influx, with no functional change in sarcoplasmic reticular sequestration. Upregulation of the influx pathway is a potential mechanism for the calcium overload observed in mdx cardiac muscle.

Keywordscardiac, calcium, duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), dystrophin, muscular dystrophy x-linked (mdx), utrophin, skeletal muscle
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020310507. Genetic immunology
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