Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a severe form of muscular dystrophy caused by mutations in the dystrophin gene. We characterized which isoforms of dystrophin were expressed by human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived cardiac fibroblasts obtained from control and DMD patients. Distinct dystrophin isoforms were observed; however, highest molecular weight isoform was absent in DMD patients carrying exon deletions or mutations in the dystrophin gene. The loss of the full-length dystrophin isoform in hiPSC-derived cardiac fibroblasts from DMD patients resulted in deficient formation of actin microfilaments and a metabolic switch from mitochondrial oxidation to glycolysis. The DMD hiPSC-derived cardiac fibroblasts exhibited a dysregulated mitochondria network and reduced mitochondrial respiration, with enhanced compensatory glycolysis to sustain cellular ATP production. This metabolic remodeling was associated with an exacerbated myofibroblast phenotype and increased fibroblast activation in response to pro fibrotic challenges. As cardiac fibrosis is a critical pathological feature of the DMD heart, the myofibroblast phenotype induced by the absence of dystrophin may contribute to deterioration in cardiac function. Our study highlights the relationship between cytoskeletal dynamics, metabolism of the cell and myofibroblast differentiation and provides a new mechanism by which inactivation of dystrophin in non-cardiomyocyte cells may increase the severity of cardiopathy.
Reference: IPSC derived cardiac fibroblasts of DMD patients show compromised actin microfilaments, metabolic shift and pro-fibrotic phenotype.
Soussi S, Savchenko L, Rovina D, Iacovoni JS, Gottinger A, Viallettes M, Pioner JM, Farini A, Mallia S, Rabino M, Pompilio G, Parini A, Lairez O, Gowran A, Pizzinat N. Biol Direct. 2023 Jul 27;18(1):41.