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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2005 (2005), Issue 1, Pages 28-36
Research article

Deficiency in Cardiac Dystrophin Affects the Abundance of the α-/β-Dystroglycan Complex

Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, National University of Ireland, County Kildare, Maynooth, Ireland

Received 19 January 2004; Revised 23 June 2004; Accepted 27 July 2004

Copyright © 2005 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Although Duchenne muscular dystrophy is primarily categorised as a skeletal muscle disease, deficiency in the membrane cytoskeletal protein dystrophin also affects the heart. The central transsarcolemmal linker between the actin membrane cytoskeleton and the extracellular matrix is represented by the dystrophin-associated dystroglycans. Chemical cross-linking analysis revealed no significant differences in the dimeric status of the α-/β-dystroglycan subcomplex in the dystrophic mdx heart as compared to normal cardiac tissue. In analogy to skeletal muscle fibres, heart muscle also exhibited a greatly reduced abundance of both dystroglycans in dystrophin-deficient cells. Immunoblotting demonstrated that the degree of reduction in α-dystroglycan is more pronounced in matured mdx skeletal muscle as contrasted to the mdx heart. The fact that the deficiency in dystrophin triggers a similar pathobiochemical response in both types of muscle suggests that the cardiomyopathic complications observed in x-linked muscular dystrophy might be initiated by the loss of the dystrophin-associated surface glycoprotein complex.