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Robust expression of shortened, functional dystrophin provided impetus to develop adeno-associated virus (AAV)-based constructs for clinical application. Because several cassettes are being tested in clinical trials, this study compared the efficacies of four shortened dystrophin-promoter combinations with implications for outcomes in clinical trials: MHCK7 or MCK promoter with a shortened dystrophin transgene containing the N-terminus and spectrin repeats R1, R2, R3 and R24 (rAAVrh74.MHCK7.micro-dystrophin and rAAVrh74.MCK.micro-dystrophin, respectively); shortened dystrophin construct containing the neuronal nitric oxide (nNOS) binding site (; and shortened dystrophin containing the C-terminus (rAAVrh74.MHCK7.micro-dystrophin.Cterm). Functional and histological benefit were examined at 4 weeks following intramuscular delivery in mdx mice. rAAVrh74.MHCK7.micro-dystrophin provided the most robust transgene expression and significantly increased specific force output in the tibialis anterior muscle. Muscle environment was normalized (i.e. reductions in central nucleation), indicating functional and histological advantages of rAAVrh74.MHCK7.micro-dystrophin. Thus, promoter choice and transgene design are critical for optimal dystrophin expression/distribution for maximal functional improvement. © 2023. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.


Rachael A Potter, Danielle A Griffin, Kristin N Heller, Jerry R Mendell, Louise R Rodino-Klapac. Expression and function of four AAV-based constructs for dystrophin restoration in the mdx mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Biology open. 2023 Sep 15;12(9)

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PMID: 37670674

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