Exploring Dystrophin-Mediated Control of Neural Stem Cell Fate Associated with Intellectual Disability In Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Patients

Title: Exploring Dystrophin-Mediated Control of Neural Stem Cell Fate Associated with Intellectual Disability In Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Patients
Authors: Thompson, Shannon
Date: 2018-09-13
Embargo: 2019-09-13
Abstract: Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is an X-linked recessive neuromuscular disease characterized by progressive muscle-wasting and loss of mobility. One-third of patients with DMD are also affected by cognitive impairments such as a lower than average IQ and impaired working memory, comorbid with neuropsychiatric disorders such as anxiety and autism-related behaviours. DMD is caused by mutations in the DMD gene resulting in the deletion of the full-length dystrophin protein (Dp427) and, dependent on mutation, other dystrophin isoforms. These isoforms are predominantly found in the brain and deletion may impact on cognition. The most commonly used animal model to study DMD is the mdx mouse which completely lacks Dp427 but no other DMD isoforms. Although the muscle phenotype is well-established, behavioural characterization of the mdx mouse model has been inconclusive. In this thesis I investigated the hippocampal and amygdala cellular and behavioural phenotypes of the mdx mouse. I show that post-natal neural stem-like cell division in the SGZ is altered in the absence of Dp427 resulting in enhanced symmetric division. I show in vitro that primary mdx cultures are fewer and smaller than wild-type, consistent with an increase in symmetrical self-renewal whereas secondary cultures are fewer and larger, consistent with a shift in symmetric division producing transit-amplifying type 2a daughter cells. I next characterized the mdx mouse model using a battery of behavioural tests. Data presented here show that mdx mice do not exhibit an anxious phenotype, do not display autism-related behaviours, and do not display impairments in and spatial learning or memory. However, associative learning, as measured in the fear conditioning paradigm is enhanced in mdx mice. Lastly, I attempted to generate three different brain-specific dystrophin knock-out mouse models to examine role of other dystrophin isoforms. While none of the models were able to deplete dystrophin from brain, given the inverse relationship between Cre-mediated efficiency and the genetic distance of the loxP sites in the fDMDH mouse employed, I do provide important insight into the presence and absence of the muscle-specific enhancers in constructs commonly used to generate brain-specific mouse models. Taken together, this thesis provides converging evidence to indicate that loss of Dp427 impacts on fear associative learning and stem-cell like division in the SGZ but likely does not underlie the non-progressive cognitive impairments affecting one-third of all DMD patients.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/38110
CollectionThèses - Embargo // Theses - Embargo