Human molecular genetics

Myogenic program dysregulation is contributory to disease pathogenesis in spinal muscular atrophy.

PMID 24691550


Mutations in the survival motor neuron (SMN1) gene lead to the neuromuscular disease spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Although SMA is primarily considered as a motor neuron disease, the importance of muscle defects in its pathogenesis has not been fully examined. We use both primary cell culture and two different SMA model mice to demonstrate that reduced levels of Smn lead to a profound disruption in the expression of myogenic genes. This disruption was associated with a decrease in myofiber size and an increase in immature myofibers, suggesting that Smn is crucial for myogenic gene regulation and early muscle development. Histone deacetylase inhibitor trichostatin A treatment of SMA model mice increased myofiber size, myofiber maturity and attenuated the disruption of the myogenic program in these mice. Taken together, our work highlights the important contribution of myogenic program dysregulation to the muscle weakness observed in SMA.