Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2D (LGMD 2D) is the most common cause of LGMD with a sarcoglycan defect. We recently engineered a murine model for this progressive disease and we investigated the possibility of preventing the development of muscular dystrophy in these animals by adenovirus-mediated gene transfer of human alpha-sarcoglycan. Here we report that a single intramuscular injection of a first generation adenovirus into the skeletal muscle of neonate mice led to sustained expression of alpha-sarcoglycan at the sarcolemma of transduced myofibers for at least 7 months. The morphology of transduced muscles was consequently preserved. In addition, we have used contrast agent-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to investigate sarcolemmal integrity in adenovirus-injected animals and have thereby demonstrated maintenance of sarcolemmal function. In conclusion, we provide evidence that early virus-mediated gene transfer of a sarcoglycan protein constitutes a promising therapeutic strategy for LGMDs and that the benefits of this approach can easily and effectively be monitored by noninvasive methodologies such as MRI.