Consequences of the combined deficiency in dystrophin and utrophin on the mechanical properties and myosin composition of some limb and respiratory muscles of the mouse

Neuromuscul Disord. 1998 Aug;8(6):362-70. doi: 10.1016/s0960-8966(98)00048-0.


The mechanical properties and the myosin isoform composition were studied in three isolated muscles (EDL, soleus, diaphragm) of mutant mice lacking both dystrophin and utrophin (dko). They were compared with the corresponding muscles of the normal and the dystrophin-deficient (mdx) and the utrophin-deficient (uko) mice. In comparison with mdx muscles, dko muscles show a significant reduction of the normalized isometric force, confirmed by the reduced muscular activity of the whole animal. Kinetics parameters (twitch time-to-peak and half-relaxation time) were slightly reduced, and the maximal speed of shortening of soleus, Vmax, was reduced by 30%. The maximal power output (muW/mm3) was reduced by 50% in dko soleus. In the three muscles studied, the relative myosin heavy chains (MHC) composition showed a shift towards slower isoforms. dko EDL presented a dramatic decrease of the resistance ot tetanic contraction with forced lengthenings (eccentric contractions), while muscle lacking only utrophin (uko mutants) display a normal resistance to this exacting mechanical challenge. These experiments suggest that lack of both dystrophin and utrophin is very detrimental to the mice and that mechanical properties of the muscles may explain the overall phenotype. Moreover these results bring some support to the idea that the expression of utrophin in mdx muscle compensates, to some extent, for the lack of dystrophin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / deficiency*
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / genetics
  • Dystrophin / deficiency*
  • Dystrophin / genetics
  • Extremities
  • Isometric Contraction / physiology
  • Membrane Proteins / deficiency*
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred mdx
  • Mice, Knockout / genetics
  • Muscle Fatigue / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Myosins / chemistry
  • Myosins / metabolism*
  • Respiratory Muscles / metabolism
  • Respiratory Muscles / physiology*
  • Utrophin


  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Dystrophin
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Utrn protein, mouse
  • Utrophin
  • Myosins