Structural and Functional Alterations of Skeletal Muscle Microvasculature in Dystrophin-Deficient mdx Mice.
Latroche C., Matot B., Martins-Bach A., Briand D., Chazaud B., Wary C., Carlier PG., Chrétien F., Jouvion G.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a progressive neuromuscular disease, caused by an absence of dystrophin, inevitably leading to death. Although muscle lesions are well characterized, blood vessel alterations that may have a major impact on muscle regeneration remain poorly understood. Our aim was to elucidate alterations of the vascular network organization, taking advantage of Flk1(GFP/+) crossed with mdx mice (model for human DMD where all blood vessels express green fluorescent protein) and functional repercussions using in vivo nuclear magnetic resonance, combining arterial spin-labeling imaging of perfusion, and (31)P-spectroscopy of phosphocreatine kinetics. For the first time, our study focused on old (12-month-old) mdx mice, displaying marked chronic muscle lesions, similar to the lesions observed in human DMD, in comparison to young-adult (3-month-old) mdx mice displaying only mild muscle lesions with no fibrosis. By using an original approach combining a specific animal model, state-of-the-art histology/morphometry techniques, and functional nuclear magnetic resonance, we demonstrated that the microvascular system is almost normal in young-adult in contrast to old mdx mice, displaying marked microvessel alterations, and the functional repercussions on muscle perfusion and bioenergetics after a hypoxic stress vary depending on stage of pathology. This original approach clarifies disease evolution and paves the way for setting up new diagnostic markers or therapeutic strategies.