Natural disease history of the dy2J mouse model of laminin α2 (merosin)-deficient congenital muscular dystrophy

PLoS One. 2018 May 15;13(5):e0197388. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0197388. eCollection 2018.


Merosin deficient congenital muscular dystrophy 1A (MDC1A) is a very rare autosomal recessive disorder caused by mutations in the LAMA2 gene leading to severe and progressive muscle weakness and atrophy. Although over 350 causative mutations have been identified for MDC1A, no treatment is yet available. There are many therapeutic approaches in development, but the lack of natural history data of the mouse model and standardized outcome measures makes it difficult to transit these pre-clinical findings to clinical trials. Therefore, in the present study, we collected natural history data and assessed pre-clinical outcome measures for the dy2J/dy2J mouse model using standardized operating procedures available from the TREAT-NMD Alliance. Wild type and dy2J/dy2J mice were subjected to five different functional tests from the age of four to 32 weeks. Non-tested control groups were taken along to assess whether the functional test regime interfered with muscle pathology. Respiratory function, body weights and creatine kinase levels were recorded. Lastly, skeletal muscles were collected for further histopathological and gene expression analyses. Muscle function of dy2J/dy2J mice was severely impaired at four weeks of age and all mice lost the ability to use their hind limbs. Moreover, respiratory function was altered in dy2J/dy2J mice. Interestingly, the respiration rate was decreased and declined with age, whereas the respiration amplitude was increased in dy2J/dy2J mice when compared to wild type mice. Creatine kinase levels were comparable to wild type mice. Muscle histopathology and gene expression analysis revealed that there was a specific regional distribution pattern of muscle damage in dy2J/dy2J mice. Gastrocnemius appeared to be the most severely affected muscle with a high proportion of atrophic fibers, increased fibrosis and inflammation. By contrast, triceps was affected moderately and diaphragm only mildly. Our study presents a complete natural history dataset which can be used in setting up standardized studies in dy2J/dy2J mice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Creatine Kinase / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Laminin / deficiency
  • Laminin / genetics
  • Laminin / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • Muscular Dystrophies / genetics
  • Muscular Dystrophies / metabolism*
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Animal / genetics
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Animal / metabolism*


  • Laminin
  • laminin alpha 2
  • Creatine Kinase

Supplementary concepts

  • Muscular dystrophy congenital, merosin negative

Grant support

The work was supported by grants from ZonMw (project 113302001) and NeurOmics (FP7, grant agreement 2012-305121) and AFM (grant number 20251). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.