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Calcium currents and transients in co-cultured contracting normal and Duchenne muscular dystrophy human myotubes

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Michael Cullen


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1. The goal of the present study was to investigate differences in calcium movements between normal and Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) human contracting myotubes co-cultured with explants of rat spinal cord with attached dorsal root ganglia. Membrane potential, variations of intracellular calcium concentration and T- and L-type calcium currents were recorded. Further, a descriptive and quantitative study by electron microscopy of the ultrastructure of the co-cultures was carried out. 2. The resting membrane potential was slightly less negative in DMD (-61.4 ± 1.1 mV) than in normal myotubes (-65.5 ± 0.9 mV). Both types of myotube displayed spontaneous action potentials (mean firing frequency, 0.42 and 0.16 Hz, respectively), which triggered spontaneous calcium transients measured with Indo-1. 3. The time integral under the spontaneous Ca2+ transients was significantly greater in DMD myotubes (97 ± 8 nM s) than in normal myotubes (67 ± 13 nM s). 4. The L- and T-type current densities estimated from patch-clamp recordings were smaller in DMD cells (2.0 ± 0.5 and 0.90 ± 0.19 pA pF-1, respectively) than in normal cells (3.9 ± 0.7 and 1.39 ± 0.30 pA pF-1, respectively). 5. The voltage-dependent inactivation relationships revealed a shift in the conditioning potential at which inactivation is half-maximal ( Vh,0.5) of the T- and L-type currents towards less negative potentials, from -72.1 ± 0.7 and -53.7 ± 1.5 mV in normal cells to -61.9 ± 1.4 and -29.2 ± 1.4 mV in DMD cells, respectively. 6. Both descriptive and quantitative studies by electron microscopy suggested a more advanced development of DMD myotubes as compared to normal ones. This conclusion was supported by the significantly larger capacitance of the DMD myotubes (408 ± 45 pF) than of the normal myotubes (299 ± 34 pF) of the same apparent size. 7. Taken together, these results show that differences in T- and L-type calcium currents between normal and DMD myotubes cannot simply explain all observed alterations in calcium homeostasis in DMD myotubes, thus suggesting that other transmembrane calcium transport mechanisms must also be altered in DMD myotubes compared with normal myotubes.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Imbert N, Vandebrouck C, Duport G, Raymond G, Hassoni AA, Constantin B, Cullen MJ, Cognard C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Physiology

Year: 2001

Volume: 534

Issue: 2

Pages: 343-355

ISSN (print): 0022-3751

ISSN (electronic): 1469-7793

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell


DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7793.2001.00343.x

PubMed id: 11454955


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