In vitro assay for the efficacy assessment of AAV vectors expressing microdystrophin

Kirill A. Danilov, Svetlana G. Vassilieva, Anna V. Polikarpova, Anna V. Starikova, Anna A. Shmidt, Ivan I. Galkin, Alexandra A. Tsitrina, Tatiana V. Egorova, Sergei N. Orlov, Yuri V. Kotelevtsev

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    4 Citations (Scopus)


    AAV-delivered microdystrophin genes hold great promise for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) treatment. It is anticipated that the optimization of engineered dystrophin genes will be required to increase the efficacy and reduce the immunogenicity of transgenic proteins. An in vitro system is required for the efficacy testing of genetically engineered dystrophin genes. We report here on the proof of concept for an in vitro assay based on the assessment of sarcolemma damage after repetitively applied electrical stimuli. The primary cell culture of myoblasts was established from wild-type C57BL/10ScSnJ and dystrophin-deficient mdx mice. The preparation parameters and the differentiation of contractile myotubes were optimized. DAPI and TO-PRO-3 dyes were used to assess myotubular membrane permeability in response to electrical pulse stimulation (EPS). Myotubes derived from mdx mice exhibited a greater increase in membrane damage, as assessed by TO-PRO-3-measured permeability after EPS, than was exhibited by the healthy control myotubes. AAV-DJ particles carrying the microdystrophin gene were used to transduce mdx-derived differentiated myotubes. Microdystrophin delivery ameliorated the disease phenotype and reduced the EPS-induced membrane damage to a level comparable to that of the healthy controls. Thus, the in vitro system was shown to be capable of supporting studies on DMD gene therapy.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number112033
    JournalExperimental Cell Research
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2020


    • AAV
    • DMD
    • Duchenne muscular dystrophy
    • Electrical pulse stimulation
    • EPS
    • Gene therapy
    • In vitro model


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