Reducing sarcolipin expression mitigates Duchenne muscular dystrophy and associated cardiomyopathy in mice

Nat Commun. 2017 Oct 20;8(1):1068. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-01146-7.


Sarcolipin (SLN) is an inhibitor of the sarco/endoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca2+ ATPase (SERCA) and is abnormally elevated in the muscle of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) patients and animal models. Here we show that reducing SLN levels ameliorates dystrophic pathology in the severe dystrophin/utrophin double mutant (mdx:utr -/-) mouse model of DMD. Germline inactivation of one allele of the SLN gene normalizes SLN expression, restores SERCA function, mitigates skeletal muscle and cardiac pathology, improves muscle regeneration, and extends the lifespan. To translate our findings into a therapeutic strategy, we knock down SLN expression in 1-month old mdx:utr -/- mice via adeno-associated virus (AAV) 9-mediated RNA interference. The AAV treatment markedly reduces SLN expression, attenuates muscle pathology and improves diaphragm, skeletal muscle and cardiac function. Taken together, our findings suggest that SLN reduction is a promising therapeutic approach for DMD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiomyopathies / genetics
  • Cardiomyopathies / physiopathology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dystrophin / genetics
  • Dystrophin / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics*
  • Gene Silencing*
  • Genetic Therapy*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred mdx
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Muscle Proteins / genetics*
  • Muscle Proteins / metabolism
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / genetics
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / physiopathology*
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / therapy*
  • Proteolipids / genetics*
  • Proteolipids / metabolism
  • RNA Interference
  • Sarcoplasmic Reticulum Calcium-Transporting ATPases / genetics
  • Sarcoplasmic Reticulum Calcium-Transporting ATPases / metabolism
  • Utrophin / genetics
  • Utrophin / metabolism


  • Dystrophin
  • Muscle Proteins
  • Proteolipids
  • Utrophin
  • sarcolipin
  • Sarcoplasmic Reticulum Calcium-Transporting ATPases