Drug screening in a zebrafish model of duchenne muscular dystrophy

Academic Article


  • Two known zebrafish dystrophin mutants, sapje and sapje-like (sapc/100), represent excellent small-animal models of human muscular dystrophy. Using these dystrophin-null zebrafish, we have screened the Prestwick chemical library for small molecules that modulate the muscle phenotype in these fish. With a quick and easy birefringence assay, we have identified seven small molecules that influence muscle pathology in dystrophin-null zebrafish without restoration of dystrophin expression. Three of seven candidate chemicals restored normal birefringence and increased survival of dystrophin-null fish. One chemical, aminophylline, which is known to be a nonselective phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibitor, had the greatest ability to restore normal muscle structure and up-regulate the cAMP-dependent PKA pathway in treated dystrophin-deficient fish. Moreover, other PDE inhibitors also reduced the percentage of affected sapje fish. The identification of compounds, especially PDE inhibitors, that moderate the muscle phenotype in these dystrophin-null zebrafish validates the screening protocol described here and may lead to candidate molecules to be used as therapeutic interventions in human muscular dystrophy.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Kawahara G; Karpf JA; Myers JA; Alexander MS; Guyone JR; Kunkel LM
  • Start Page

  • 5331
  • End Page

  • 5336
  • Volume

  • 108
  • Issue

  • 13