Acute conversion of patient-derived Duchenne muscular dystrophy iPSC into myotubes reveals constitutive and inducible over-activation of TGF?-dependent pro-fibrotic signaling.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:In Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), DYSTROPHIN deficiency exposes myofibers to repeated cycles of contraction/degeneration, ultimately leading to muscle loss and replacement by fibrotic tissue. DMD pathology is typically exacerbated by excessive secretion of TGF? and consequent accumulation of pro-fibrotic components of the extra-cellular matrix (ECM), which in turn impairs compensatory regeneration and complicates the efficacy of therapeutic strategies. It is currently unclear whether DMD skeletal muscle fibers directly contribute to excessive activation of TGF?. Development of skeletal myofibers from DMD patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC), as an "in dish" model of disease, can be exploited to determine the myofiber contribution to pathogenic TGF? signaling in DMD and might provide a screening platform for the identification of anti-fibrotic interventions in DMD. METHODS:We describe a rapid and efficient method for the generation of contractile human skeletal muscle cells from DMD patient-derived hiPSC, based on the inducible expression of MyoD and BAF60C (encoded by SMARCD3 gene), using an enhanced version of piggyBac (epB) transposone vectors. DMD iPSC-derived myotubes were tested as an "in dish" disease model and exposed to environmental and mechanical cues that recapitulate salient pathological features of DMD. RESULTS:We show that DMD iPSC-derived myotubes exhibit a constitutive activation of TGF?-SMAD2/3 signaling. High-content screening (HCS)-based quantification of nuclear phosphorylated SMAD2/3 signal revealed that DMD iPSC-derived myotubes also exhibit increased activation of the TGF?-SMAD2/3 signaling following exposure to either recombinant TGF? or electrical pacing-induced contraction. CONCLUSIONS:Acute conversion of DMD patient-derived iPSC into skeletal muscles, by the ectopic expression of MyoD and BAF60C, provides a rapid and reliable protocol for an "in dish" DMD model that recapitulates key pathogenic features of disease pathology, such as the constitutive activation of the TGF?/SMAD signaling as well as the deregulated response to pathogenic stimuli, e.g., ECM-derived signals or mechanical cues. Thus, this model is suitable for the identification of new therapeutic targets in DMD patient-specific muscles.
Project description:Direct generation of a homogeneous population of skeletal myoblasts from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and formation of three-dimensional contractile structures for disease modeling in vitro are current challenges in regenerative medicine. Previous studies reported on the generation of myoblasts from ESC-derived embryoid bodies (EB), but not from undifferentiated ESCs, indicating the requirement for mesodermal transition to promote skeletal myogenesis. Here, we show that selective absence of the SWI/SNF component BAF60C (encoded by SMARCD3) confers on hESCs resistance to MyoD-mediated activation of skeletal myogenesis. Forced expression of BAF60C enables MyoD to directly activate skeletal myogenesis in hESCs by instructing MyoD positioning and allowing chromatin remodeling at target genes. BAF60C/MyoD-expressing hESCs are epigenetically committed myogenic progenitors, which bypass the mesodermal requirement and, when cultured as floating clusters, give rise to contractile three-dimensional myospheres composed of skeletal myotubes. These results identify BAF60C as a key epigenetic determinant of hESC commitment to the myogenic lineage and establish the molecular basis for the generation of hESC-derived myospheres exploitable for "disease in a dish" models of muscular physiology and dysfunction.
Project description:Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a progressive and fatal muscle degenerating disease caused by a dystrophin deficiency. Effective suppression of the primary pathology observed in DMD is critical for treatment. Patient-derived human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) are a promising tool for drug discovery. Here, we report an in vitro evaluation system for a DMD therapy using hiPSCs that recapitulate the primary pathology and can be used for DMD drug screening. Skeletal myotubes generated from hiPSCs are intact, which allows them to be used to model the initial pathology of DMD in vitro. Induced control and DMD myotubes were morphologically and physiologically comparable. However, electric stimulation of these myotubes for in vitro contraction caused pronounced calcium ion (Ca(2+)) influx only in DMD myocytes. Restoration of dystrophin by the exon-skipping technique suppressed this Ca(2+) overflow and reduced the secretion of creatine kinase (CK) in DMD myotubes. These results suggest that the early pathogenesis of DMD can be effectively modelled in skeletal myotubes induced from patient-derived iPSCs, thereby enabling the development and evaluation of novel drugs.
Project description:Extracellular matrix (ECM) components play an important role in maintaining skeletal muscle function, but excessive accumulation of ECM components interferes with skeletal muscle regeneration after injury, eventually inducing fibrosis. Increased oxidative stress level caused by dystrophin deficiency is a key factor in fibrosis in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) patients. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are considered a promising therapeutic agent for various diseases involving fibrosis. In particular, the paracrine factors secreted by MSCs play an important role in the therapeutic effects of MSCs. In this study, we investigated the effects of MSCs on skeletal muscle fibrosis. In 2-5-month-old mdx mice intravenously injected with 1 × 105 Wharton's jelly (WJ)-derived MSCs (WJ-MSCs), fibrosis intensity and accumulation of calcium/necrotic fibers were significantly decreased. To elucidate the mechanism of this effect, we verified the effect of WJ-MSCs in a hydrogen peroxide-induced fibrosis myotubes model. In addition, we demonstrated that matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1), a paracrine factor, is critical for this anti-fibrotic effect of WJ-MSCs. These findings demonstrate that WJ-MSCs exert anti-fibrotic effects against skeletal muscle fibrosis, primarily via MMP-1, indicating a novel target for the treatment of muscle diseases, such as DMD.
Project description:Skeletal muscle insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes is associated with a shift from oxidative to glycolytic metabolism in myofibers. However, whether this metabolic switch is detrimental or adaptive for metabolic homeostasis has not been resolved. We recently demonstrated that the Baf60c/Deptor pathway promotes glycolytic metabolism in the muscle and protects mice from diet-induced insulin resistance. However, the nature of the signals that impinge on this pathway and the role of Baf60c in glucose homeostasis in the severe insulin-resistant state remain unknown. Here we show that expression of Baf60c and Deptor was downregulated in skeletal muscle in obesity, accompanied by extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK) activation. In cultured myotubes, inhibition of ERK, but not Jun NH2-terminal kinase and I?B kinase, blocked the downregulation of Baf60c and Deptor by the proinflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor-?. Treatment of obese mice with the ERK inhibitor U0126 rescued Baf60c and Deptor expression in skeletal muscle and lowered blood glucose. Transgenic rescue of Baf60c in skeletal muscle restored Deptor expression and Akt phosphorylation and ameliorated insulin resistance in ob/ob mice. This study identifies the Baf60c/Deptor pathway as a target of proinflammatory signaling in skeletal muscle that may link meta-inflammation to skeletal myofiber metabolism and insulin resistance.
Project description:Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is caused by mutations in the dystrophin gene (DMD), and is characterized by progressive weakness in skeletal and cardiac muscles. Currently, dilated cardiomyopathy due to cardiac muscle loss is one of the major causes of lethality in late-stage DMD patients. To study the molecular mechanisms underlying dilated cardiomyopathy in DMD heart, we generated cardiomyocytes (CMs) from DMD and healthy control induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). DMD iPSC-derived CMs (iPSC-CMs) displayed dystrophin deficiency, as well as the elevated levels of resting Ca(2+), mitochondrial damage and cell apoptosis. Additionally, we found an activated mitochondria-mediated signaling network underlying the enhanced apoptosis in DMD iPSC-CMs. Furthermore, when we treated DMD iPSC-CMs with the membrane sealant Poloxamer 188, it significantly decreased the resting cytosolic Ca(2+) level, repressed caspase-3 (CASP3) activation and consequently suppressed apoptosis in DMD iPSC-CMs. Taken together, using DMD patient-derived iPSC-CMs, we established an in vitro model that manifests the major phenotypes of dilated cardiomyopathy in DMD patients, and uncovered a potential new disease mechanism. Our model could be used for the mechanistic study of human muscular dystrophy, as well as future preclinical testing of novel therapeutic compounds for dilated cardiomyopathy in DMD patients.
Project description:Smooth muscle cells (SMCs) play critical roles in a number of diseases; however, the molecular mechanism underlying their development is unclear. Although the role of TGF?1 signaling in SMC development is well established, the downstream molecular signals are not fully understood. We used several rat multipotent adult progenitor cell ((r)MAPC) lines that express levels of Oct4 mRNA similar to hypoblast stem cells (HypoSC), and can differentiate robustly to mesodermal and endodermal cell types. TGF?1 alone, or with PDGF-BB, induces differentiation of rMAPCs to SMCs, which expressed structural SMC proteins, including ?-smooth muscle actin (?SMA), and contribute to the SMC coat of blood vessels in vivo. A genome-wide time-course transcriptome analysis revealed that transcripts of Baf60c, part of the SWI/SNF actin binding chromatin remodeling complex D-3 (SMARCD3/BAF60c), were significantly induced during MAPC-SMC differentiation. We demonstrated that BAF60c is a necessary co-regulator of TGF?1 mediated induction of SMC genes. Knock-down of Baf60c decreased SMC gene expression in rMAPCs whereas ectopic expression of Baf60c was sufficient to commit rMAPCs to SMCs in the absence of exogenous cytokines. TGF?1 activates Baf60c via the direct binding of SMAD2/3 complexes to the Baf60c promoter region. Chromatin- and co-immunoprecipitation studies demonstrated that regulation of SMC genes by BAF60c is mediated via interaction with SRF binding CArG box-containing promoter elements in SMC genes. We noted that compared with TGF?1, Baf60c overexpression in rMAPC yielded SMC with a more immature phenotype. Similarly, Baf60c induced an immature phenotype in rat aortic SMCs marked by increased cell proliferation and decreased contractile marker expression. Thus, Baf60c is important for TGF?-mediated commitment of primitive stem cells (rMAPCs) to SMCs and is associated with induction of a proliferative state of quiescent SMCs. The MAPC-SMC differentiation system may be useful for identification of additional critical (co-)regulators of SMC development.
Project description:Transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) and connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) have been described to induce the production of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins and have been reported to be increased in different fibrotic disorders. Skeletal muscle fibrosis is a common feature of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). The mdx mouse diaphragm is a good model for DMD since it reproduces the muscle degenerative and fibrotic changes. Fibronectin (FN) and proteoglycans (PG) are some of the ECM proteins upregulated in dystrophic conditions. In view of understanding the fibrotic process involved in DMD we have isolated fibroblasts from dystrophic mdx diaphragms. Here we report that regardless of the absence of degenerative myofibers, adult mdx diaphragm fibroblasts show increased levels of FN and condroitin/dermatan sulfate PGs synthesis. Fibroblasts isolated from non fibrotic tissue, such as 1 week old mice diaphragms or skin, do not present elevated FN levels. Furthermore, mdx fibroblast conditioned media is able to stimulate FN synthesis in control fibroblasts. Autocrine TGF-beta signaling was unaltered in mdx cells. When control fibroblasts are exposed to TGF-beta and CTGF, FN increases as expected. Paradoxically, in mdx cells it decreases in a concentration dependent manner and this decrease is not due to a downregulation of FN synthesis. According to this data we hypothesize that a pathological environment is able to reprogram fibroblasts into an activated phenotype which can be maintained through generations.
Project description:Recent findings suggest a pathologic role of skeletal muscle in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) onset and progression. However, the exact mechanism by which this occurs remains elusive due to limited human-based studies. To this end, phenotypic ALS skeletal muscle models were developed from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived from healthy individuals (WT) and ALS patients harboring mutations in the superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) gene. Although proliferative, SOD1 myoblasts demonstrated delayed and reduced fusion efficiency compared to WT. Additionally, SOD1 myotubes exhibited significantly reduced length and cross-section. Also, SOD1 myotubes had loosely arranged myosin heavy chain and reduced acetylcholine receptor expression per immunocytochemical analysis. Functional analysis indicated considerably reduced contractile force and synchrony in SOD1 myotubes. Mitochondrial assessment indicated reduced inner mitochondrial membrane potential (??m) and metabolic plasticity in the SOD1-iPSC derived myotubes. This work presents the first well-characterized in vitro iPSC-derived muscle model that demonstrates SOD1 toxicity effects on human muscle regeneration, contractility and metabolic function in ALS. Current findings align with previous ALS patient biopsy studies and suggest an active contribution of skeletal muscle in NMJ dysfunction. Further, the results validate this model as a human-relevant platform for ALS research and drug discovery studies.
Project description:Epigenetic modifications, such as histone acetylation/deacetylation, have been shown to play a role in the pathogenesis of fibrotic disease. Peyronie's disease (PD) is a localized fibrotic process of the tunica albuginea, which leads to penile deformity. This study was undertaken to determine the anti-fibrotic effect of small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated silencing of histone deacetylase 2 (HDAC2) in primary fibroblasts derived from human PD plaque. PD fibroblasts were pre-treated with HDAC2 siRNA and then stimulated with transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1). Protein was extracted from treated fibroblasts for Western blotting and the membranes were probed with antibody to phospho-Smad2/Smad2, phospho-Smad3/Smad3, smooth muscle α-actin and extracellular matrix proteins, including plasminogen activator inhibitor-1, fibronectin, collagen I and collagen IV. We also performed immunocytochemistry to detect the expression of extracellular matrix proteins and to examine the effect of HDAC2 siRNA on the TGF-β1-induced nuclear translocation of Smad2/3 in fibroblasts. Knockdown of HDAC2 in PD fibroblasts abrogated TGF-β1-induced extracellular matrix production by blocking TGF-β1-induced phosphorylation and nuclear translocation of Smad2 and Smad3, and by inhibiting TGF-β1-induced transdifferentiation of fibroblasts into myofibroblasts. Decoding the individual function of the HDAC isoforms by use of siRNA technology, preferably siRNA for HDAC2, may lead to the development of specific and safe epigenetic therapies for PD.
Project description:Recent studies have revealed the contribution of fibro-adipogenic progenitors (FAPs) to the pathogenesis and progression of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). While FAPs direct compensatory regeneration at early stages of disease, as the disease progresses they contribute to the progressive replacement of contractile myofibers with fibrotic scars and fatty infiltration. Using the mouse model of DMD - the mdx mice - we have recently reported that FAPs mediate the ability of HDAC inhibitors (HDACi) to promote muscle regeneration and prevent fibro-adipogenic degeneration at early stages of disease. This effect is mediated by the induction of myomiRs that, in turn, target the SWI/SNF components BAF60A and B, thereby favoring the formation of BAF60C-based SWI/SNF complex, which directs the switch from the fibro-adipogenic to the myogenic lineage. Here we show direct evidence of induction of miR-206 and BAF60C, and reduction of BAF60A, in FAPs isolated from mdx muscles exposed to the HDACi Trichostatin A (TSA). We also discuss how increased expression of myomiRs in dystrophic muscles can be integrated with circulating myomiRs to provide accurate biomarkers of disease progression and response to treatment.