Myotonic dystrophy is the most common adult muscle dystrophy. In view of emerging therapies, which use animal models as a proof of principle, the development of reliable outcome measures for in vivo longitudinal study of mouse skeletal muscle function is becoming crucial. To satisfy this need, we have developed a device to measure ankle dorsi- and plantarflexion torque in rodents. We present an in vivo 8-month longitudinal study of the contractile properties of the skeletal muscles of the DMSXL mouse model of myotonic dystrophy type 1. Between 4 and 12 months of age, we observed a reduction in muscle strength in the ankle dorsi- and plantarflexors of DMSXL compared to control mice although the strength per muscle cross-section was normal. Mild steady myotonia but no abnormal muscle fatigue was also observed in the DMSXL mice. Magnetic resonance imaging and histological analysis performed at the end of the study showed respectively reduced muscle cross-section area and smaller muscle fibre diameter in DMSXL mice. In conclusion, our study demonstrates the feasibility of carrying out longitudinal in vivo studies of muscle function over several months in a mouse model of myotonic dystrophy confirming the feasibility of this method to test preclinical therapeutics.
Keywords: Follow-up; In vivo; Mouse; Myotonic dystrophy type 1; Skeletal muscle.
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