Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Toxic Molecule May Cause Most Common Type Of Muscular Dystrophy

Date:
August 26, 2006
Source:
University of Virginia Health System
Summary:
Doctors at the University of Virginia Health System have shown for the first time that getting rid of poisonous RNA (ribonucleic acid) in muscle cells can reverse myotonic dystrophy, the most common type of muscular dystrophy in adults.

A myotonic mouse muscle with green florescent protein.
Credit: University of Virginia Health System

Doctors at the University of Virginia Health System have shown for the first time that getting rid of poisonous RNA (ribonucleic acid) in muscle cells can reverse myotonic dystrophy, the most common type of muscular dystrophy in adults.

About 40,000 people in the United States have myotonic muscular dystrophy (MMD). The disease can cause a slow, progressive wasting of the muscles, irregular heartbeat, cataracts and insulin resistance. Many people don't know they have MMD until their teens or twenties.

To prove the theory that toxic RNA is involved in myotonic muscular dystrophy, a research team led by Dr. Mani Mahadevan, a UVa pathologist, duplicated the disease in mice. "We showed in our mouse model that when you make this poisonous RNA the mice get various aspects of myotonic dystrophy," Mahadevan said. "Then, when you take away the toxic RNA, the mice get back to normal."

Mahadevan hopes the research might lead to new therapies for MMD in the next few years. "If we develop a therapy to silence the expression of the toxic RNA molecule, that would be a viable approach to treat people with myotonic muscular dystrophy," he said. Mahadevan's research in published in the September 2006 issue of Nature Genetics.

Making RNA is the second step in the conversion of DNA into proteins that determine the function of the body's cells. Myotonic muscular dystrophy is the first example of a disease caused by toxic RNA.

In 1992, Mahadevan discovered the gene mutation that causes myotonic muscular dystrophy (type 1) as part of a research group in Canada. The mutation is an increased number of CTG repeats in a gene called DMPK. Everyone with myotonic muscular dystrophy has that mutation on chromosome 19, which is now part of a genetic, diagnostic test for myotonic dystrophy.

In their latest research, Mahadevan and colleagues created a new type of mouse model with many extra copies of the CTG repeats, each attached to DNA for a protein that glows green under a microscope. They also integrated an "on switch" for MMD in the mice, activated by giving them doxycycline, an antibiotic, in their drinking water.

When mice began to produce many copies of RNA with CTG repeats, they developed the hallmarks of type 1 MMD within a few weeks, including an inability to relax muscles and heart rhythm abnormalities. When doxycycline was stopped, mice stopped producing toxic RNA and returned to normal, except in cases when the heart was severely damaged.

So far, however, Mahadevan and other scientists can't explain exactly what happens inside the cell to cause someone to get myotonic dystrophy. "The prevailing theory is that the RNA remains in the nucleus, rather than moving out of it, and proteins get stuck to the RNA and aren't able to do their job," Mahadevan said.

This toxic RNA in not found in every cell of body, Mahadevan said. Rather, it is produced in higher levels in muscle cells, in the heart and brain, in the lining of the intestines and in the lens and muscles of the eyes.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Virginia Health System. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Virginia Health System. "Toxic Molecule May Cause Most Common Type Of Muscular Dystrophy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 August 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060824222024.htm>.
University of Virginia Health System. (2006, August 26). Toxic Molecule May Cause Most Common Type Of Muscular Dystrophy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060824222024.htm
University of Virginia Health System. "Toxic Molecule May Cause Most Common Type Of Muscular Dystrophy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060824222024.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) A Florida doctor who helped fight the expanding Ebola outbreak in West Africa says the disease can be stopped, but only if nations quickly step up their response and make border control a priority. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins