Hexose enhances oligonucleotide delivery and exon skipping in dystrophin-deficient mdx mice

Nat Commun. 2016 Mar 11;7:10981. doi: 10.1038/ncomms10981.


Carbohydrate-based infusion solutions are widely used in the clinic. Here we show that co-administration of phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomers (PMOs) with glucose enhances exon-skipping activity in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) mdx mice. We identify a glucose-fructose (GF) formulation that potentiates PMO activity, completely corrects aberrant Dmd transcripts, restores dystrophin levels in skeletal muscles and achieves functional rescue without detectable toxicity. This activity is attributed to enhancement of GF-mediated PMO uptake in the muscle. We demonstrate that PMO cellular uptake is energy dependent, and that ATP from GF metabolism contributes to enhanced cellular uptake of PMO in the muscle. Collectively, we show that GF potentiates PMO activity by replenishing cellular energy stores under energy-deficient conditions in mdx mice. Our findings provide mechanistic insight into hexose-mediated oligonucleotide delivery and have important implications for the development of DMD exon-skipping therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dystrophin / drug effects*
  • Dystrophin / genetics
  • Dystrophin / metabolism
  • Exons
  • Fructose / pharmacology*
  • Genetic Therapy
  • Glucose / pharmacology*
  • Hexoses / pharmacology
  • Injections, Intramuscular
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred mdx
  • Morpholinos / pharmacology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / metabolism*
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense / pharmacology*
  • RNA Splicing / drug effects*
  • RNA, Messenger / drug effects*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism


  • Dystrophin
  • Hexoses
  • Morpholinos
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense
  • RNA, Messenger
  • apo-dystrophin 1
  • Fructose
  • Glucose