The Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitor Lisinopril Improves Muscle Histopathology but not Contractile Function in a Mouse Model of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

J Neuromuscul Dis. 2015;2(3):257-268. doi: 10.3233/JND-150099. Epub 2015 Sep 2.


Background: Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEi) are the current standard of care treatment for cardiac dysfunction in Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients. We previously showed treatment with an ACEi plus mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) antagonist improves limb and respiratory skeletal muscles, in addition to cardiac muscles, in a dystrophic mouse model at 20 weeks-of-age.

Objective: To determine whether previously observed preclinical benefits of an ACEi plus MR antagonist on dystrophic skeletal muscles can be reproduced by increasing ACEi dosage alone. We also compared functional and histological outcome measures at 10 and 20 weeks-of-age.

Methods: Dystrophin deficient utrophin haplo-insufficient (utrn+/-; mdx) "het" mice were treated with 10, 20, or 50 mg/kg × day of the ACEi lisinopril from 4 to 10 weeks-of-age via water bottles and compared with C57BL/10 wild-type control mice and untreated hets. Data from 10 week-old het mice were also compared to data collected from an untreated het group at 20 weeks-old. In vivo cardiac and grip strength measurements, in vitro diaphragm and extensor digitorum longus muscle force measurements, and histopathological analyses were performed. One-way ANOVA followed by Dunnett post hoc comparison was used to determine significance.

Results: ACEi treatment reduced skeletal muscle damage but had no significant effect on muscle force. Body weight, heart rate, grip strength and blood pressure were unaffected by treatment. Limb muscle histopathology was more informative at 10 than 20 weeks-of-age.

Conclusions: These results suggest increased ACEi dosage alone cannot improve all dystrophic parameters. Further optimization of MR antagonists in 20 week-old mice is warranted.

Keywords: Duchenne; Muscular dystrophy; abdominal muscle; angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors; diaphragm; dystrophin; heart; lisinopril; mdx; mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists; quadriceps muscle; utrophin; young mice.