Pharmacology and Therapeutics - Research Publications

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    Iron overload and impaired iron handling contribute to the dystrophic pathology in models of Duchenne muscular dystrophy
    Alves, FM ; Kysenius, K ; Caldow, MK ; Hardee, JP ; Chung, JD ; Trieu, J ; Hare, DJ ; Crouch, PJ ; Ayton, S ; Bush, A ; Lynch, GS ; Koopman, R (WILEY, 2022-03-06)
    BACKGROUND: Oxidative stress is implicated in the pathophysiology of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD, caused by mutations in the dystrophin gene), which is the most common and severe of the muscular dystrophies. To our knowledge, the distribution of iron, an important modulator of oxidative stress, has not been assessed in DMD. We tested the hypotheses that iron accumulation occurs in mouse models of DMD and that modulation of iron through the diet or chelation could modify disease severity. METHODS: We assessed iron distribution and total elemental iron using LA-ICP-MS on skeletal muscle cross-sections of 8-week-old Bl10 control mice and dystrophic mdx mice (with moderate dystrophy) and dystrophin/utrophin-null mice (dko, with severe dystrophy). In addition, mdx mice (4 weeks) were treated with either an iron chelator (deferiprone 150 mg/kg/day) or iron-enriched feed (containing 1% added iron as carbonyl iron). Immunoblotting was used to determine the abundance of iron- and mitochondria-related proteins. (Immuno)histochemical and mRNA assessments of fibrosis and inflammation were also performed. RESULTS: We observed a significant increase in total elemental iron in hindlimb muscles of dko mice (+50%, P < 0.05) and in the diaphragm of mdx mice (+80%, P < 0.05), with both tissues exhibiting severe pathology. Iron dyshomeostasis was further evidenced by an increase in the storage protein ferritin (dko: +39%, P < 0.05) and ferroportin compared with Bl10 control mice (mdx: +152% and dko: +175%, P < 0.05). Despite having features of iron overload, dystrophic muscles had lower protein expression of ALAS-1, the rate-limiting enzyme for haem synthesis (dko -44%, P < 0.05), and the haem-containing protein myoglobin (dko -54%, P < 0.05). Deferiprone treatment tended to decrease muscle iron levels in mdx mice (-30%, P < 0.1), which was associated with lower oxidative stress and fibrosis, but suppressed haem-containing proteins and mitochondrial content. Increasing iron via dietary intervention elevated total muscle iron (+25%, P < 0.05) but did not aggravate the pathology. CONCLUSIONS: Muscles from dystrophic mice have increased iron levels and dysregulated iron-related proteins that are associated with dystrophic pathology. Muscle iron levels were manipulated by iron chelation and iron enriched feed. Iron chelation reduced fibrosis and reactive oxygen species (ROS) but also suppressed haem-containing proteins and mitochondrial activity. Conversely, iron supplementation increased ferritin and haem-containing proteins but did not alter ROS, fibrosis, or mitochondrial activity. Further studies are required to investigate the contribution of impaired ferritin breakdown in the dysregulation of iron homeostasis in DMD.
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    Iron accumulation in skeletal muscles of old mice is associated with impaired regeneration after ischaemia-reperfusion damage
    Alves, FM ; Kysenius, K ; Caldow, MK ; Hardee, JP ; Crouch, PJ ; Ayton, S ; Bush, AI ; Lynch, GS ; Koopman, R (WILEY, 2021-03-04)
    BACKGROUND: Oxidative stress is implicated in the insidious loss of muscle mass and strength that occurs with age. However, few studies have investigated the role of iron, which is elevated during ageing, in age-related muscle wasting and blunted repair after injury. We hypothesized that iron accumulation leads to membrane lipid peroxidation, muscle wasting, increased susceptibility to injury, and impaired muscle regeneration. METHODS: To examine the role of iron in age-related muscle atrophy, we compared the skeletal muscles of 3-month-old with 22- to 24-month-old 129SvEv FVBM mice. We assessed iron distribution and total elemental iron using laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry and Perls' stain on skeletal muscle cross-sections. In addition, old mice underwent ischaemia-reperfusion (IR) injury (90 min ischaemia), and muscle regeneration was assessed 14 days after injury. Immunoblotting was used to determine lipid peroxidation (4HNE) and iron-related proteins. To determine whether muscle iron content can be altered, old mice were treated with deferiprone (DFP) in the drinking water, and we assessed its effects on muscle regeneration after injury. RESULTS: We observed a significant increase in total elemental iron (+43%, P < 0.05) and lipid peroxidation (4HNE: +76%, P < 0.05) in tibialis anterior muscles of old mice. Iron was further increased after injury (adult: +81%, old: +135%, P < 0.05) and associated with increased lipid peroxidation (+41%, P < 0.05). Administration of DFP did not impact iron or measures of lipid peroxidation in skeletal muscle or modulate muscle mass. Increased muscle iron concentration and lipid peroxidation were associated with less efficient regeneration, evident from the smaller fibres in cross-sections of tibialis anterior muscles (-24%, P < 0.05) and an increased percentage of fibres with centralized nuclei (+4124%, P < 0.05) in muscles of old compared with adult mice. Administration of DFP lowered iron after IR injury (PRE: -32%, P < 0.05 and POST: -41%, P < 0.05), but did not translate to structural improvements. CONCLUSIONS: Muscles from old mice have increased iron levels, which are associated with increased lipid peroxidation, increased susceptibility to IR injury, and impaired muscle regeneration. Our results suggest that iron is involved in effective muscle regeneration, highlighting the importance of iron homeostasis in muscle atrophy and muscle repair.