Promoting blood vessel growth and tissue remodelling may improve outcome in patients with muscular dystrophy, according to a study published online in Nature Medicine. This idea could help extend new cell based therapies to individuals with the disease who are currently untreatable.
Reduced number and increased stiffness of blood vessels characterize advanced stages of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, often preventing treatment. Giulio Cossu and colleagues modified tendon fibroblasts to express PlGF, a molecule that promotes blood vessel growth, and MMP-9, a molecule important for tissue remodelling. Injecting these modified cells in the muscle of old, dystrophic mice, they restored the vascular network and reduced collagen deposition.
Subsequent therapy with mesangioblasts, cells that need to integrate into the muscle to promote its recovery, worked better in mice that received the 'preparatory' injection, as the treated muscles were more receptive to the mesangioblasts.
Giulio Cossu (H. San Raffaele, Milan, Italy)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Medicine press release.
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